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Australia : NT another step closer to eradicating Banana Freckle.

The National Banana Freckle Eradication Program has reached another major milestone, with all banana plant regrowth removed from within the six Red Zones across the Top End.

Minister for Primary Industry and Fisheries Willem Westra van Holthe applauded Territorians for their ongoing commitment to eradicating Banana Freckle.

Inspectors have carried out re-growth checks at around 9,500 properties across the Red Zones and the support from the community has been overwhelmingly positive, Minister Westra van Holthe said.

Unfortunately the selfish actions of a few are putting the efforts of the broader community into jeopardy, with four properties found to have knowingly grown banana plants in Red Zones, resulting in the issuing of three fines and a formal caution to date.

One property at Humpty Doo was found with 75 banana plants which have since tested positive to Banana Freckle. Two of the properties were also found to be growing banana plants after the end of the October re-growth deadline; its now very likely the entire community surrounding these properties will have to delay their re-planting which is extremely disappointing and not fair to those who have done the right thing.

National guidelines stipulate that re-planting can only begin once we have had a six month window for each Red Zone being completely banana plant free- this period must also include a wet season so its vitally important to the success of the program that no-one else is found to be harbouring plants illegally, Minister Westra van Holthe said.

Road signs are being erected at Territory borders over coming weeks, reminding people about quarantine regulations which include no movement of banana plants into Red Zones.

Minister Westra van Holthe said the Banana Freckle Eradication Program is at a critical juncture where a single plant could jeopardise the efforts of Territorians at more than 41,000 addresses in the Red Zones.

Red Zones must remain banana plant free if we are to have the best chance of eradicating this serious plant pest, Minister Westra van Holthe said.

The banana industry is the nations largest single horticulture sector, contributing around $1.1 billion to the economy annually and employing around 10,000 people.

Its so important we do everything we can to protect the industry and ensure the Northern Territory banana industry has access to the national market in the future.

Re-planting will begin in May 2016 in some Red Zones, subject to no more banana plants being found.

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Publication:Mena Report
Date:Dec 19, 2015
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