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Fresh potato imports must be banned

Media Release
Christine Milne 27 Aug 2010

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.

"Discussions about biosecurity always come down to whether or not protocols that are put in place are sufficient to prevent disease or pests getting in to the country.

"New Zealand scientists and biosecurity personnel do not know how the potato tomato psyllid got into New Zealand, and therefore no amount of protocol can guarantee it will not come into Tasmania or Australia.

"We must therefore say the risk is too great and refuse to accept fresh potatoes from New Zealand."

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