Communique - Banana Freckle

​20 December 2013

National eradication program for banana freckle

Action will continue to control the outbreak of Banana Freckle (Phyllosticta cavendishii previously known as Guignardia musae) on Cavendish bananas in the Northern Territory.

Banana freckle is a fungal disease affecting both the leaves and the fruit of banana plants and can reduce the yield and health of infected plants. It represents no risk to human health. Due to the unsightly appearance of its symptoms, the disease renders affected banana fruit unsaleable and therefore represents a major risk to Australia’s commercial banana industry.

The National Management Group (NMG), comprising of government representatives and the affected industry parties of the Australian Banana Growers’ Council and Nursery and Garden Industry Australia, met on 19 December 2013 following the detection of additional premises in the Northern Territory infected with the fungus.

All parties supported the continuation of the eradication response. Surveillance and quarantine measures that are already in place around the affected properties will continue while the agreed response plan is carried out.

The eradication response is being conducted by the Northern Territory in accordance with the response plan agreed by NMG 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.

The NMG decision to continue this program is based on scientific evidence and recognises the economic benefit of eradication and that eradication is technically feasible.

Further information on the response to Banana Freckle is available on the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries website.