Sunday, December 10, 2023

Annual forum to discuss top plant disease risk

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Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Media Release, 7 May 2021

National Xylella Action Plan

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has hosted the first online forum with industry and federal and state governments to review the progress of the National Xylella Action Plan 2019–2029.

Head of Biosecurity at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, Andrew Tongue, said it was vital that we maintained momentum in our efforts to keep Xylella out of Australia.

Xylella is one of the most significant emerging plant disease threats worldwide, and we are fortunate that it is not present in Australia,” Mr Tongue said.

Xylella has been identified as Australia’s top National Priority Plant Pest in recognition of its potential to severely affect Australia’s plant industries and environment.

“According to ABARES, a Xylella fastidiosa incursion could cost our wine grape and wine-making industries up to $7.9 billion over 50 years.

“The department is determined to help ensure that Australia remains free of bacterial pathogens like Xylella and that we are prepared to respond should the need arise.

“The National Action Plan focuses on preventing Xylella from entering Australia, rapidly detecting it if it does enter, and mounting an effective emergency response.

“Industry and governments around Australia are working together to implement the National Xylella Action Plan and improve Australia’s preparedness.

“From our biosecurity field officers, to our research scientists, to people at home, maintaining Australia’s biosecurity is everyone’s responsibility.”

The National Xylella Action Plan 2019–2029 can be viewed here.

Fast Facts

  • The forum was hosted by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.
  • Xylella fastidiosa is a bacterial disease that causes scorched leaves, browning and loss of leaves, stunted shoots, reduced fruit, dieback, and death of many types of plants.
  • Xylella spreads internationally through the importation of infected plants and plant material, and locally through insects feeding on plants.
  • Over 350 native, commercial, and ornamental plant species, including wine grapes, olives, and fruit and nut trees would be at risk from Xylella if the disease found its way into Australia.
  • The National Xylella Action Plan was published in late 2019 to enhance Australia’s capacity to prevent the introduction of Xylella and prepare for a response, should it be detected here.


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