Agriculture Minister and local Maranoa MP David Littleproud says a vessel carrying cars and machinery from China and South Korea to Australia has been sent home because bugs on board could have decimated our $12 billion horticultural industry.
A statement released by the minister today, Tuesday 27 November, says The Triumph, owned by Armacup, had come through multiple ports and will now go back to China.
Mr Littleproud said Australia would never compromise on keeping our farm sector safe.
“Australia is extremely lucky to be relatively isolated by sea, which helps us keep pests and diseases out,” he said.
“We sell our produce for premium prices overseas because it’s clean and green – we have very few pests and diseases.
“If we don’t protect our borders from invading pests and diseases, we could lose our $60 billion farm industries.
“We won’t shirk the tough decisions – our $60 billion farm industry must be kept safe.
“Department of Agriculture inspections found more than a hundred brown marmorated stink bugs (BMSB) and other bugs on the Triumph, which indicates a live population on the boat.
“These bugs eat everything from tomatoes to apples and broccoli to beans.
“They also gather in people’s houses and stink to high heaven.
“The risk to our industry was unacceptable.
“We directed the vessel to leave our waters, which it now has.
“I thank the shipping line and operator for openly cooperating with us on the issue.
“The bug comes from Asia and is now wreaking havoc in parts of Europe.”
• BMSB feeds on over 300 plant species, including fruit, vegetables and ornamental plants
• It is not found in Australia and can severely damage, fruit and vegetable crops rendering them unsellable or reducing the size of the crop.
• Adult BMSB can also enter vehicles, homes and factories for shelter over winter. Some people can suffer an allergic reaction from contact with BMSB.
• From September to April there is a heightened risk that BMSB could arrive in Australia on imported cargo.