Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Christine Milne has welcomed improved quarantine conditions allowing for increased apple exports to China, but wants to ensure that apple imports do not threaten Australian soft fruits and apples as a result of increased risk posed by the suzukii fruit fly.
"This is a big opportunity for major apple growing regions such as Tasmania, and good news for growers seeking to export high quality of apples into niche markets throughout China.
"It is very timely as Tasmanian growers have started pulling out trees and this new access provides a boost that is much needed.
"But At the same time as we are improving access to the Chinese market, some growers are concerned about suzukii, which is a fruit fly of concern as it attacks green, fresh fruit, unlike most members of the fruit fly family which only attack overripe or decaying fruit.
"As a result I've asked Biosecurity Australia to brief the Rural and Regional Affairs committee this afternoon to establish the risk posed by suzukii.
"It is critical that we protect Australia's biosecurity, but it is also important that we access new markets for our growers.
"It is the WTO rules that are causing problems for both."
"We cannot allow biosecurity to become a defacto trade tariff barrier but at the same time we need to protect our precious disease free status in so many areas.
"It is the World trade Organsiation rules that need to be reviewed so that it provides for fair trade and not as currently applies where Australian growers are out competed by low wage regimes and poor environmental performance in competing markets allowing them to land products into Australian supermarkets cheaper than Australian farmers can produce them."