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AQIS apple find demands increased inspections

Yesterday's find of an apple midge and leaf litter in one of the first apple consignments from New Zealand is evidence that the risk of disease and insect incursion is high and requires an increase in the reach of the inspection service, Greens Deputy Leader, Christine Milne said today.

"Although swooping on a small amount of leaf matter and a single apple leaf curling midge among the first consignments may be touted as a victory for AQIS, I am deeply concerned about what may have passed undiscovered in other consignments.

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Free trade and biosecurity collide on apple decision

Today is a sad day for Australian apple and pear growers as the first shipment of New Zealand apples destined for Australia left today following the Federal Government's agreement to provide a permit for their importation, Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Christine Milne said today.

"There is no doubt that fire blight will come to Australia; the question of whether or not it will spread remains hotly contested and history shows that a disease free country like Australia is likely to lose that status over time.

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Asian honey bee incursion will sting Tasmanians if government does not act

The Tasmanian and Federal government's decision to pull the plug on eradicating the Asian honey bee incursion in Cairns will have dire consequences for Tasmanian apiarists, farmers and much of our wildlife if not reinstated, says Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Christine Milne.

With beekeepers from around Australia converging on Canberra, the Greens today once again called on the Gillard government to step up and fund efforts to eradicate the invasive Asian honey bee and to protect our food security and Tasmania's unique honey industry while it still has the chance.

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Fresh potato imports must be banned

Tasmania cannot take any risks with its potato and tomato industries and must become seriously engaged to prevent New Zealand potatoes being brought to Tasmania for processing, Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Christine Milne said today.

"I have contacted the Rural and Regional Committee of the Senate and had this issue put on the agenda to deal with as soon as the parliament resumes post election.

"The evidence to date demonstrates there are no circumstances which can protect Tasmania other than a complete ban on the import of fresh potatoes from New Zealand.

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Milne calls on Burke Not to License Methyl Bromide

Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Christine Milne has called on Minister Tony Burke not to license the use of methyl bromide for use in the Port of Burnie.

Senator Milne last week asked Minister Burke why the federal government was granting an in-ship fumigation licence to TasPorts when safer alternatives are available.

"It's wrong for the government to ignore alternatives to this deadly and environmentally destructive gas and issue a licence to use it a mere stone's throw away from a major population centre.

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Deadly gas licences must be reviewed: Milne

Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Christine Milne wants the Federal government to review all licences for the use of methyl bromide following an announcement that Tas Ports plans to pump 1.5 tonnes of the deadly gas into a moored ship near George Town.

Senator Milne commented that the use of methyl bromide is outdated and unnecessary as alternatives are available, and the EU has already banned its use.

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Chinese apple exports welcomed, but import risks need analysis

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.

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BSE beef: health, safety and consumer awareness should trump trade agenda

The ban on importing beef from BSE-affected countries into Australia should not be lifted as planned next week, the Australian Greens said today.

The ban, in place since 2001, is important to protect Australian public health. Australia has a no risk approach which is now to be replaced with a calculated risk.

"The Rudd government has tried to keep this quiet because they know full well that the Australian community does not want to eat beef from BSE affected countries.

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Nationals, Liberals and Independents cost rural Australia $20 million and reform

Rural Australia has been ill-served by the decision of the National Party, the Liberal Party and the Independents to block reforms that Australia's export agricultural industries are crying out to achieve.

Earlier today, Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, had secured $20 million so that Australia's primary producers had both a rebate and a reform agenda for the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service on the table.

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Milne secures $20m for export farmers: Senate now needs to pass it

Export farmers will continue to receive a rebate on the costs of compliance with quarantine regulations for another 12 months while the reform of the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service is being pursued.

Australian Greens Deputy Leader, Senator Christine Milne, secured the ongoing rebate in last minute negotiations with Agriculture Minister, Tony Burke, overnight. Senator Milne will now withdraw her motion to disallow the regulations that end the rebate program and is calling on the Coalition and Independents to support this win-win outcome.

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