Australian Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and Member for Maranoa in Queensland, David Littleproud, said quick work to resolve New Zealand’s concerns about the treatment had helped to safeguard the future of the AUD$5 million trade.
“I am pleased that the melon industry, treatment providers, along with my department and New Zealand authorities, have resolved any issues so that our growers can continue to provide consumers across the ditch with great tasting melons,” Joyce said.
“Just as we expect other countries to respect our biosecurity conditions, so must we respect theirs when we seek to export our agricultural products.
“It’s important to remember that, although New Zealand put a temporary suspension on imports of rockmelons and honeydew melons from Australia treated with dimethoate, the trade in melons to New Zealand was able to continue from areas free of fruit fly.”
He said if the issue had not been resolved before the main melon export season began in September it could have had “a greater impact on growers’ ability to export and in turn, hurt their profits.”
“I am pleased that a sensible solution has been agreed in time for growers to take advantage of this key market this coming season,” he added.
Littleproud said the melon industry was synonymous with his electorate and important to the local economy.
“I raised this issue with the Deputy Prime Minister when it was first apparent and asked for all the stops to be pulled out,” Littleproud said.
“Today, I’m pleased to see that our melon producers, and those across the country, can choose from a range of options if exporting to New Zealand, especially for those producing outside a pest free area.”
Of the AUD$5 million of Australian melons (other than watermelons) exported to New Zealand in 2015-16, Queensland growers generated more than 90% of the trade.