National Management Group endorses Giant Pine Scale Response Plan

20 April 2015

The National Management Group (NMG), comprising all Australian governments and Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA), met on 30 March 2015 and agreed to endorse the National Giant Pine Scale (Marchalina hellenica) Response Plan prepared by Victoria and South Australia in consultation with industry and governments.

The eradication response is being conducted jointly by the Victorian and South Australian Governments under the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (the Deed). This Deed is the agreement between the Australian Government, all state and territory governments, national plant industry bodies and Plant Health Australia to manage national responses to emergency plant pests.

Acting on advice from the Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests (CCEPP), the NMG agreed that it is technically feasible and cost beneficial to eradicate giant pine scale in Australia. The NMG noted that Nursery and Garden Industry Australia (NGIA) do not agree that giant pine scale is technically feasible or cost beneficial to eradicate.

Giant pine scale is a pest of some species of pines, including  Pinus radiata. Eradication of giant pine scale from Australia will safeguard Australia’s $1 billion softwood plantation industry and public amenity trees from this pest.

The NMG endorsed the response for four years (2014-15 to 2017-18) subject to an efficiency review of the response plan being completed by 30 June 2015. Future levels of funding for the response plan will be decided by the NMG following its consideration of the Efficiency Auditor’s report

The response plan includes a programme of treatment or removal for infected trees and monitoring and surveillance over the next four years. Recognising that a number of trees in urban areas are affected, the response plan also includes a strong focus on community engagement to raise public awareness and encourage reporting of trees that are suspected of being infested with giant pine scale.

Operating under the agreed response plan, and subject to the outcomes of the efficiency audit, the final surveillance phase to confirm successful eradication of giant pine scale and proof of freedom will commence from September 2017.

All Commonwealth, state and territory governments and Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) are contributing to this nationally significant response. Giant pine scale is currently classed as a Category 3 Emergency Plant Pest, pending formal classification under the Deed.

The NMG for giant pine scale is comprised of the Chief Executive Officers, or their delegates, of national and state/territory departments of agriculture/primary industries across Australia, along with AFPA and NGIA as the affected industry parties. Representatives of Plant Health Australia also attend NMG meetings as the custodian to the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed. The group is chaired by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture.

The CCEPP is comprised of senior delegates of national and state/territory departments of agriculture/primary industries across Australia, industry and representatives of Plant Health Australia.