Panama disease in Queensland here to stay

The National Management Group (NMG) for Panama disease Tropical Race 4 has announced that it is not technically feasible to eradicate the fungal pathogen in Queensland. The Australian Government is currently considering a support proposal from the banana industry, which will become part of considerations for the ongoing management of the disease.

The NMG is the peak decision-making body for national responses to emergency plant pests under the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (the Deed).

It comprises the Chief Executive Officers of national and state and territory departments of primary industries across Australia, along with Australian Banana Growers’ Council and Nursery and Garden Industry Australia as the affected industry parties.

The NMG took into account advice from scientific experts of the Consultative Committee for Emergency Plant Pests (CCEPP), which concluded that it is not technically feasible to eradicate Panama disease Tropical Race 4 in Queensland based on the best available scientific evidence.

Panama disease Tropical Race 4 poses no threat to human health. It is a soil–borne fungal pathogen that was first detected in Queensland on 4 March 2015, having previously been identified in the Northern Territory in 1997.

The disease was found not to be eradicable in the Northern Territory. Panama disease Tropical Race 4 is also present throughout banana growing countries in Asia.

The Deed is the agreement between the Australian Government, all state and territory governments, national plant industry bodies and Plant Health Australia to manage national responses to emergency plant pests.

The full NMG communiqué on Panama disease Tropical Race 4 is available on the department’s website: http://www.agriculture.gov.au/about/media-centre/communiques/

Posted 21 April 2015


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