Cut flowers and foliage

​​Pest Risk Analysis for Cut Flower and Foliage Imports

Fresh cut flowers and foliage have been imported into Australia on a commercial basis for over 45 years. With this trade comes the potential to introduce unwanted pests and diseases into Australia.

In 2017, we conducted a review of import conditions for fresh cut flowers and foliage following an analysis of inspection records. The inspection records showed high rates of pest detections on large numbers of consignments of imported fresh cut flowers and foliage at the Australian border. In addition, some countries that export fresh cut flowers and foliage to Australia were found to have failed the inspections with failure rates in excess of 50 per cent.

As a result of the 2017 review, import conditions for fresh cut flowers and foliage were amended and came into effect as of 1 March 2018.

We initiated a pest risk analysis (PRA) for the cut flower and foliage pathway to:

  • assess the biosecurity risks posed by key pest groups associated with cut flowers and foliage imports to Australia, and
  • determine whether the introduction of the current import conditions manage the biosecurity risks to achieve the appropriate level of protection for Australia.

The PRA is being conducted in two parts:

  • Part 1 – thrips, aphids and mites
  • Part 2 – other arthropod pests

Part 1 – thrips, aphids and mites

Part 1 of the PRA assesses the three main pest groups being intercepted at the border on imported fresh cut flowers and foliage — thrips, aphids and mites.

On 11 July 2018 we announced the commencement of Part 1 of the PRA for cut flowers and foliage imports via Biosecurity Advice 2018-12.

On 14 November 2018, we released the draft report for public consultation via Biosecurity Advice 2018-30. The consultation period was extended, closing on 15 March 2019 (previously advised to close on 31 January 2019).

We expect to release the final report of Part 1 of the PRA in mid-2019, following consideration of stakeholder comments.

Draft report - Summary

Key points:

  1. Part 1 of the pest risk analysis of biosecurity import requirements for cut flower and foliage imports is based on an analysis of historic inspection records, information provided by trading countries, previous risk analyses and an extensive literature review.
  2. The draft report assessed the three main groups of arthropod pests arriving with these imports—thrips, aphids and mites.
  3. As a result of conducting the pest risk analysis, we confirmed the following risk management measure options:
    1. National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO)-approved systems approach accompanied by a Phytosanitary Certificate
    2. Pre-shipment methyl bromide fumigation accompanied by a Phytosanitary Certificate and attached with the relevant fumigation certificate
    3. NPPO-approved alternative pre-shipment disinfestation treatment accompanied by a Phytosanitary Certificate certifying the treatment

Download the draft report

DocumentPagesFile size
Draft pest risk analysis for cut flower and foliage imports—Part 1 PDF2153.7 MB
Draft pest risk analysis for cut flower and foliage imports—Part 1 DOCX2152.2 MB

If you have difficulty accessing these files, visit web accessibility for assistance.

Part 2 – other arthropod pests

Part 2 of the PRA assesses all other arthropod pest groups that are also found on the cut flower and foliage pathway but were not reviewed in Part 1 – such as leaf miner flies, caterpillars and true plant bugs, including stink bugs.

On 18 April 2019, we announced the commencement of Part 2 of the PRA for cut flowers and foliage imports via Biosecurity Advice 2019-P05.

We expect to release the draft report of Part 2 of the PRA for public consultation in mid-2019.

We expect to release the final report of Part 2 of the PRA by late 2019, following consideration of stakeholder comments.

General Information

Register as a stakeholder

We use the stakeholder register for distributing biosecurity risk analysis policy information to registered stakeholders. Stakeholders interested in receiving information and updates on biosecurity risk analyses are invited to subscribe via the department’s new online subscription service. By subscribing to Biosecurity Risk Analysis Plant, you will receive Biosecurity Advices and other notifications relating to plant biosecurity policy.

Protecting Australia from exotic pests

Australia is free from many of the world’s most damaging plant pests, which are capable of damaging our natural environment, destroying our food production and agriculture industries, and changing our way of life. Australia’s biosecurity system, which includes the risk assessment process, helps protect us from exotic plant pests.

We undertake risk assessments of pests and identify risk management options to address any risks posed by these exotic pests. These measures reflect Australia’s overall approach to the management of biosecurity risk.

Zero risk is impossible. Aiming for zero risk would mean no tourists, no international travel and no imports of any commodities. Australia invests heavily in biosecurity to ensure risks are managed.

Australia exports almost two-thirds of its agricultural produce. The future of our agricultural and food industries, including their capacity to contribute to growth and jobs, depends on Australia’s capacity to maintain its animal and plant health status.

Australia accepts imports only when we are confident the risks of pests and diseases can be managed to achieve an appropriate level of protection for Australia.

International obligations

All World Trade Organization (WTO) members are signatories to the Agreement on the Application of Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (the SPS Agreement), under which they have both rights and obligations.

The basic obligations of the SPS Agreement are that SPS measures must:

  • be based on a risk assessment appropriate to the circumstances or drawn from standards developed by the World Organisation for Animal Health and the International Plant Protection Convention
  • only be applied to the extent necessary to protect human, animal or plant life or health
  • be based on science
  • not arbitrarily or unjustifiably discriminate between WTO members, or be a disguised restriction on trade.

Under the SPS Agreement, each WTO Member is entitled to maintain a level of protection it considers appropriate to protect human, animal or plant life or health within its territory – in other words, its appropriate level of protection.

Appropriate level of protection

The appropriate level of protection (ALOP) for Australia is defined in the Biosecurity Act 2015 as ‘a high level of sanitary and phytosanitary protection aimed at reducing biosecurity risks to very low, but not to zero’. This definition was agreed with all our state and territory governments and recognises that a zero-risk stance is impractical.

The ALOP is a broad objective, and risk management measures are established to achieve that objective.

Read more about Australia’s ALOP

Biosecurity risk

The term ‘biosecurity risk’ is used to describe the combination of the likelihood and the consequences of a pest or disease of biosecurity concern entering, establishing and spreading in Australia.

Australia's biosecurity system protects our unique environment and agricultural sector and supports our reputation as a safe and reliable trading nation. This has significant economic, environmental and community benefits for all Australians.

New scientific information

Scientific information can be provided to us at any time, even after a risk analysis has been completed. We will consider the information provided and review the analysis.

Timing of imports

The recommendations in the final report are an administrative step and reflect the completion of the risk analysis. Before imports can commence we will:

  • verify that a country can action the recommended risk management measures
  • publish import conditions on the Biosecurity Import Conditions System (BICON), and
  • issue import permits, if required, for trade to commence.

The decision to import agricultural produce to Australia is a commercial decision between an importer in Australia and a supplier in the exporting country who can meet the import conditions.

Contact information

For more information, stakeholders can email Imports or phone 1800 900 090 (option 1, option 1).

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