Fijian imports being treated gingerly

Australian ginger growers say ongoing delays in the decision to allow ginger imports from Fiji are unsettling.

Three Senate inquiries into ginger imports from Fiji, pineapples from Malaysia and potatoes from New Zealand have been underway for more than a year, but the committee still can’t sort out a flaw in the risk matrix used to examine the produce.

The committee made the claim in its third interim report last month, and will now likely recommend the Senate re-refer the inquiries back in the next parliament.

Anthony Rehbein, from the Australian Ginger Growers Association, says the delay is unstable and disruptive.

“There is an element of doubt, and when there’s an element of doubt, the people who make the decisions really don’t want to sign on the dotted line,” he said.

“The problem is the issue’s not going away, and this is difficult for growers to make financial decisions on their future.”

Australia and Fiji are still discussing import requirements, and no permits will be be issued until DAFF is satisfied Fiji can manage biosecurity risks.

Australian industries can only contest the imports on grounds of science, not market competition.

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