National Management Group meets to discuss national response for Tomato Potato Psyllid Complex in Western Australia

17 March 2017

The National Management Group (NMG) for Tomato Potato Psyllid (TPP)—comprising all Australian governments, affected industries and Plant Health Australia—met on 15 March 2017 to discuss a nationally cost-shared response to TPP in Western Australia.

TPP is a tiny sap-sucking insect that attacks a range of plants in the Solanaceae family, which includes potato, tomato, eggplant, capsicum, chilli and tamarillo, as well as sweet potato in the Convolvulaceae family. It was detected in the Perth metropolitan area on 3 February 2017 and, since then, there have been a small number of detections outside the Perth metropolitan area.

TPP is exotic to Australia and can transmit Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum (CLso), which causes the serious exotic disease 'zebra chip' in potato and poses a threat to important horticultural crops such as potatoes, capsicum, chilli, tomatoes, eggplant and tamarillo.

The NMG considers the TPP/CLso complex to be of national significance, with the potential for substantial long term economic impacts, as well as domestic and international trade implications, should it become established in Australia.

Since the detection of TPP, measures have been implemented to contain and suppress it, in addition to intensive surveillance to determine its spread. Interstate movement controls for risk material have been introduced. Testing for CLso has also commenced. There are no international trade restrictions or changes to import conditions at this point in time.

The NMG considered the Incident Response Plan for the Tomato Potato Psyllid Complex (v4, 14 March 2017) and requested additional information to ensure the plan offers an effective strategy for managing this situation. It has also requested a Scientific Advisory Panel be convened to provide advice on the diagnostic testing for CLso and management strategies, should CLso prove to be present.

The NMG will reconvene within a week with a view to resolving a response plan.  ​