Anger over ginger import plan

Australian Ginger Industry Association chairman Anthony Rehbein talks with Opposition agriculture and food security spokesman John Cobb.
Australian Ginger Industry Association chairman Anthony Rehbein talks with Opposition agriculture and food security spokesman John Cobb. Scottie Simmonds

GINGER grower Anthony Rehbein is worried about the future of his industry after the Federal Government moved towards allowing imports from Fiji.

Mr Rehbein, who is chairman of the Australian Ginger Industry Association, said the problem was burrowing nematodes that were present in Fijian ginger.

"We're extremely worried about the future of our industry," he said.

Mr Rehbein said the industry was worried the pest management controls proposed by Biosecurity Australia did not go far enough.

He said the growers wanted methyl bromide fumigation to be compulsory for all imported ginger.

The Bundaberg area provides 30% of all of Australia's ginger, and Mr Rehbein said the controls recommended by Biosecurity Australia put the whole industry at risk.

"We're dealing with a second-world country that is not looking at pests and disease," he said.

Mr Rehbein met Opposition agriculture and food security spokesman John Cobb at his farm yesterday to discuss his concerns.

Mr Cobb said the industry had good reason to be very concerned about the issue.

Topics:  federal government, fiji, import

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