Draft review of policy: importation of Phytophthora ramorum host propagative material into Australia

The Federal Department of Agriculture has released a statement inviting comments on the ‘Draft review of policy: importation of Phytophthora ramorum host propagative material into Australia’.

Imports of host material of P. ramorum, which include a wide range of important ornamental varieties such as Magnolia, Camellia and Rhododendron, was severely curtailed with emergency import restrictions following outbreaks in Europe and America in 2002.

Three key proposals of the review are;

  • Updating the host list for Phytophthora ramorum, removing experimental host genera from the regulated host list and including hosts of P. kernoviae, P. nemorosa and P. pseudosyringae.
  • Reducing the post-entry quarantine (PEQ) growth period for dormant hardwood cuttings and budwood from 24 months to 15 months with visual screening, culturing and active testing for all four Phytophthora species using molecular techniques including but not limited to polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
  • Allowing the importation of one-year-old, bare-rooted plants without foliage. On arrival, the bare-rooted plants will be subjected to inspection, fumigation, culturing and molecular testing (generic Phytophthora PCR) to screen for Phytophthora species, and sodium hypochlorite treatment. This will be followed by 15 months growth in PEQ with visual inspection and molecular testing including, but not limited to, PCR.

This significant review will stimulate trade and ensure that quarantine measures are appropriate and aligned to current scientific knowledge.

Public commment closes 29 April 2015. A copy of the review is available on the Department of Agriculture website here.