Mandatory permits for cut flowers and foliage imports

From 1 September 2019, shipments of cut flowers and foliage from Kenya, Colombia and Ecuador produced using a systems approach will not be allowed entry to Australia without a valid import permit.

Head of plant biosecurity at the Department of Agriculture Dr Marion Healy, said the mandatory permits have been introduced to address the high volume of live pests of biosecurity concern arriving in Australia with cut flowers and foliage.

“Import permits will allow the department to reduce the biosecurity risk and quickly respond to individual importer non-compliances,” Dr Healy said.

“Before granting a permit we must be confident that the importer has added new control measures into their supply chain to control pests on shipments to Australia.

“Permits will initially be granted for a short period to allow us to assess the effectiveness of the permit conditions at reducing the biosecurity risk—we will only agree to issue further permits if we can see that compliance is improving.

“All shipments arriving at the border under import permits will be inspected by our biosecurity officers to confirm that they are free from live pests of biosecurity concern.

“The department recognises this is a big change for the cut flower sector, however it is necessary for keeping Australia’s vital biosecurity protected.

“By being proactive and addressing risks offshore we will not only be protecting Australia’s valuable agricultural industries but also our environment and social amenities.

“We continuously work to review what we do, and make necessary improvements. This change is but one example of the work going on to protect Australia and strengthen our biosecurity system.”

Flowers and foliage treated prior to export by an alternative approved method, such as methyl bromide fumigation, can still be sent to Australia without a permit.

Source: Australian Government