Fees to be waived for citrus fruit inspections

Citrus Dec. 24, 2018

Quarantine inspection fees will be waived for the Northern Territory’s commercial citrus fruit growers sending their fruit to interstate markets, ensuring their fruit remains competitively-priced and available interstate.

To protect Australia’s citrus industry from the citrus canker disease, and to eradicate the disease from the Territory, additional quarantine inspections are required for all citrus fruit destined for interstate markets.

Additional inspections and audits of fruit packing and farming practices are also required to ensure citrus fruit heading interstate is disease-free.

Northern Territory Chief Plant Health Officer Dr Anne Walters said the additional inspections were a national requirement, and interstate markets would not accept the Territory’s citrus fruit without them.

“Removal of the fees paid for quarantine inspections will help farmers to protect their farms and livelihoods, and get their fruit to markets more cost effectively,” Dr Walters said.

“The additional inspections are outside normal business practices for farmers and increase the cost of getting their fruit to interstate markets. In some cases, the increased number of inspections could mean it is no longer cost-effective to send fruit interstate.

“Currently, four commercial growers in the Territory have completed the required accreditation for interstate trade.

“These growers will now be able to apply to have the quarantine inspection fees they have paid reimbursed, allowing limes, lemons, grapefruit and pomelo from these commercial growers to be enjoyed in interstate markets over the following weeks and months without costs for quarantine inspection and audit fees impacting their market competitiveness.

“Interstate markets also have assurance that their high quality Territory-grown fruit is disease free.”

Amendments to the existing Northern Territory regulations (the Plant Health (Fees) Regulations) took effect 19 December 2018. They allow for quarantine inspection fees, including charges for travel and the issue of Plant Health Certificates, to be waived, made exempt or refunded when there is an emergency response.

The authority to do so already existed in other jurisdictions, and the amendment provides Territory farmers with the same support from the Northern Territory Government.

The amended regulations also allow the same support for commercial growers in any future pest or disease response in the Territory when additional treatment measures, increased inspections or audits are required for interstate trade.

Registered commercial growers who are eligible will be notified of how to apply for reimbursement of previous fees paid during the citrus canker response period. Future fees for registered commercial growers will be waived until otherwise notified.

Further information on the reimbursement of previous fees is available by contacting NT Plant Biosecurity at quarantine@nt.gov.au. Further information on the citrus canker response is available on the NT Government website, www.nt.gov.au/citruscanker.

 

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