Nationals MPs call for ban on Queensland mangoes
WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan has accused Nationals MPs of “going full Trump” in calling for a ban on Queensland mangoes.
North West Central member Vince Catania and Nationals Agriculture spokesman Colin De Grussa said this would prevent new pests such as mango seed weevil and Queensland fruity fly entering the State.
Mr De Grussa said the Eastern States had not hesitated to ban certain WA products when tomato psyllid had posed a threat.
“Our WA Minister for Agriculture needs to step up and defend our biosecurity and stop these imports immediately,” he said.
Mr Catania accused the Queensland industry of “dumping” fruit in WA, with trays being landed and sold at below the cost of production. “This is something the ACCC should investigate as it appears that the Queensland industry could be dumping fruit in Western Australia to sustain higher prices on the east coast,” he said.
“The growers in Carnarvon need a good season and the current importation from Queensland threatens the industry.”
Mr Catania said the imported Queensland mangoes’ quality was spoiled by compulsory treatments.
“In addition to the chemical processes, fumigation requires the fruit to be warmed up and then re-cooled, resulting in inferior taste and texture,” he said.
“Treatments for imported fruit include radiation and methyl bromide and dipping mangoes in Dimethoate.
Ms MacTiernan said the idea of a “trade war” with Queensland was “truly bizarre”.
“The protocol to allow import of Eastern States mangoes into WA was agreed in 2012, when the Nationals’ Terry Redman was Agriculture Minister,” she said.
“Under that protocol, mangoes have to undergo a series of chemical treatments before they can enter WA.
Queensland is in the middle of a bumper mango season, which is why Queensland growers have looked to WA’s markets for the first time for many years.”
Ms MacTiernan said while she understood Carnarvon growers were disappointed to see Queensland mangoes here, WA could not unilaterally tear up biosecurity agreements based on science.
“We encourage West Australians to buy WA-grown mangoes, knowing that the fruit has not been chemically treated or irradiated,” she said.
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