Communique - Banana Freckle

​28 January 2014

The National Management Group (NMG) met on 28 January 2014 to discuss the national eradication response to Banana Freckle (Phyllosticta cavendishii previously known as Guignardia musae) on Cavendish bananas in the Northern Territory. The NMG for this response is comprised of government representatives, the affected industry parties of the Australian Banana Growers’ Council, Nursery and Garden Industry Australia, and Plant Health Australia.

At this meeting, the NMG agreed to the payment of Owner Reimbursement Costs (ORCs) to an eligible property under the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed (the EPPRD). The NMG also agreed that it will consider further advice on the response from the Consultative Committee on Emergency Plant Pests (CCEPP) following the recent detection of two additional Infected Premises.

On 19 December 2013, NMG approved the continuation of the response program following a review as a result of the detection of further Infected Premises. All Parties supported the continuation of the nationally Cost Shared Response Plan. Surveillance and quarantine measures that are already in place around the affected properties continue in conjunction with the approved eradication activities.

The eradication response is being conducted by the Northern Territory in accordance with the Response Plan agreed by NMG under the Deed. The EPPRD 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 Banana Freckle Response Program is evidence-based and recognises the economic benefit of eradication and the advice from the CCEPP which indicates it is technically feasible to achieve.

Banana freckle is a fungal disease affecting both the leaves and the fruit of banana trees and can reduce the yield and health of infected plants. It represents no risk to human health. Further information on the response to banana freckle is available on the Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries website.