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Importation of New Zealand apples threaten Australia's local industry: lawmaker

08-18-2011 14:26 BJT

CANBERRA, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Australian Nationals Party Senate leader Barnaby Joyce on Thursday warned that importation of New Zealand apples will threaten local fruit industry.

A ban on importation of New Zealand apples into Australia has been in place since 1921, following an outbreak of fireblight in 1919. Biosecurity Australia on Wednesday gave approval for the importation of New Zealand apples into Australia.

Joyce said the Nationals fear the decision threatens the health of Australia's apple and pear orchards.

"I think it's extremely important that Australia recognizes that if we don't get the protections right on the importation of apples, fire blight will definitely come into Australia," Senator Joyce told reporters in Canberra on Thursday.

"It's just a matter of probability."

Fire blight would mean the end of Australia's pear industry, Senator Joyce said.

Senator Joyce's frontbench colleague John Cobb agreed, saying that allowing apples to be imported from New Zealand would have dire consequences for local pear and apple growers.

"It probably means the wipe-out of the Australian pear industry should fire blight come here and devastation for the apple industry," he told reporters in Canberra.

Cobb said he will introduce a private bill to parliament next week that aims to reintroduce the import ban.

He said the bill would force the government to take account of the science and the protection of the apple industry in Australia.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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