Citrus Canker: eradication efforts continue
23 August 2018
The nationally coordinated response to locate and remove all traces of citrus canker remains on-track. On-the-ground response teams remain in place in the Northern Territory and Western Australia and are progressing with removal and disposal activities.
There remain eleven infected premises in the Northern Territory and three in northern Western Australia.
Tracing information continues to be shared with all other jurisdictions, allowing for inspections and thorough diagnostic testing to be done quickly and effectively. Available evidence indicates that citrus canker is still restricted to potted plants in the home and garden sector, and all infected premises are linked to a single source premise in Darwin.
Citrus canker has not been detected in any citrus orchards or in any other Australian states. This has been determined through recent surveillance in citrus production areas.
Surveillance has been conducted on more than 3,500 premises in the Northern Territory, and 460 in Western Australia. This surveillance has shown infected plants remain limited to those supplied from a single premise in Darwin. There has been no spread from these infected plants to other host plants.
The other states have also conducted surveillance and testing as a result of the tracing information they received from the NT. In total around 7,000 traces have been investigated across Australia, and no canker has been found. The premises that have been surveyed included retail outlets, residential properties, and production nurseries. There are no traces to commercial citrus orchards, however, they have also been inspected as a precaution.
Between the NT and WA, close to 12,500 plants have been destroyed and disposed of in accordance with the agreed response strategy for citrus canker.
Citrus Australia has been working in a range of subgroups to contribute to the revision of the Response Plan.
Response Strategy Working Group
This group is focused on developing incursion scenarios and risk based response strategies that may effectively achieve eradication. They have assessed four plausible scenarios against the outcomes of the Response Plan that is underway, and are providing advice to the CCEPP. Priority areas of action for this group include surveying areas of interest outside the mapped Greater Rural Darwin Area and assessing the likely, total number of infected plants at the source premise.
Tracing Working Group
‘Tracing’ is the term used to describe the process for locating areas of possible biosecurity risk through the movement of potentially infested plants, machinery, tools and other items which may spread the disease.
A Tracing Working Group has been established to consider all the tracing procedures and analysis being undertaken across the states and territories. This includes developing strategies to trace material that has left the source premise. This group is critical to targeting the response activities to areas that are at most risk of disease.
Surveillance Working Group
The surveillance working group which will develop a national surveillance strategy. This strategy, combined with the tracing data, will help us determine where citrus canker is absent in Australia. We can then make a decision on proof of freedom which underpins our ability to show our trading partners that we are free of the disease (either that it has been fully eradicated or is confined to a limited area).
The surveillance strategy will address each of the risks that arise from plants being exposed to those plants that have come from citrus canker infected premises (including those currently identified in in the Northern Territory, Western Australia, New South Wales and Queensland). This may include surveillance being undertaken in the response, such as:
- Traced property surveillance
- Evidence of absence surveillance on orchard/nursery
- Area of interest surveillance (no direct link to IP)
- Infected property surveillance
- Restricted area surveillance.
The plan will be informed by residual risk assessments being done by the Tracing Working Group.
The surveillance plans will be integrated with a communications and engagement strategy that increases awareness and promotes early detection and reporting of any diseased plants during, and potentially post, the eradication response.
The response strategy working group is time limited and is expected to contribute to the development of the final eradication response strategy. Its role and function will be reviewed by CCEPP at the end of September 2018.
It is coordinated by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) and its membership includes experts from:
- Citrus Australia
- the NT Department of Primary Industry and Resources
- the WA Department of Industries and Regional Development
- the QLD Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
- SA Department of Primary Industries and Regions
- NSW Department of Primary Industries
- VIC Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
More information can be found at outbreak.gov.au.