Australia has been declared officially free from citrus canker following remaining restricted areas in the Northern Territory (NT) being lifted on 13 April 2021.
Minister for Agriculture, Drought, and Emergency Management, David Littleproud acknowledged and thanked NT and Western Australia (WA) for their immense efforts in leading the national response to citrus canker.
“Citrus canker is a serious bacterial disease of citrus which affects the leaves, twigs and fruit causing leaves to drop and fruit to fall to the ground before it ripens,”
Minister Littleproud said.
“Citrus canker was first detected affecting potted citrus plants in April 2018 in Darwin NT and May 2018 in Kununurra and Wyndham, WA in a small number of properties with potted plants originating from the NT.
“If left untreated it could have been detrimental to our $800 million citrus industry.
“WA was declared free from citrus canker in November 2019 after eradication activities were completed in the Kununurra and Wyndham areas.
“The nationally coordinated response to locate and remove all traces of citrus canker in the NT has been successful and all eradication activities are now complete, thanks to the support of the NT community.
“This milestone is great news for the Darwin community and Australia more broadly as it allows residents and businesses in the former restricted areas to reintroduce, grow and cultivate citrus plants on their properties.
“It also allows unrestricted domestic movement and trade of citrus fruit and leaves into and out of the former restricted areas.
“This is an important example of the significant biosecurity risks that Australia faces and why it is so important to follow our biosecurity conditions relating to the introduction of plant material.
“Protecting Australia from exotic pests and diseases is everyone’s responsibility.
“Our world-class biosecurity system continues to allow us to respond swiftly and effectively to potential biosecurity risks like this, to safeguard our vital agriculture industries and environment.”
Close brush with Citrus canker
- Citrus canker was not detected in commercial orchards in Australia and was restricted to non-commercial residences in WA and NT.
- Citrus canker has been found in Australia previously, and successfully eradicated. The last outbreak occurred in Emerald, Queensland in 2004 and was declared eradicated in January 2009.