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Friday 12th December 2008, 13:30 Melbourne

Aus banana growers appeal Philippine access

Australia’s banana growers have lodged an appeal against the decision to allow Philippine bananas into the country

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Biosecurity Australia’s (BA) access recommendation did not take into account information about the fungal disease black Sigatoka, said the ABCG, and was relying on quarantine procedures in a country “where systemic graft and corruption are a way of life”.

ABGC Imports Committee chairman Len Collins said relying in Philippine exporters to uphold quarantine procedures was not sufficient, reported the North Queensland Register.

“The Philippines does not have a quarantine culture. It is a disturbing thought that the IRA proposes putting Australia’s quarantine security in the hands of Philippine banana companies,"

“It is a known fact that AQIS `Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service` had problems monitoring compliance with quarantine conditions for a range of pests and diseases in Australia – including Equine Influenza – let alone in a country where systemic graft and corruption are a way of life,” said ABGC CEO Tony Heidrich.

“AQIS must state on the public record exactly what quarantine conditions will be put in place, how they will be applied and what checks and balances will be established to monitor compliance in the Philippines.”

Australia’s Senate Rural and Regional Affairs Committee has established an enquiry into the BA decision, which is scheduled for 24 and 25 February next year.

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