Residents who live in a citrus canker restricted area have recently been contacted regarding the removal of their citrus plants to work towards eradication of the plant pest.
Removal efforts will begin on a small scale basis with priority residents within the restricted area tasked first.
Northern Territory Executive Director Biosecurity and Animal Welfare Sarah Corcoran thanked the public for their assistance in the response to date and said those in the restricted areas would have now received letters in regards to the removal of plants and materials.
“The community has been extremely cooperative and we really appreciate the efforts people have gone to in reporting citrus plants,” she said.
Phase two of the response will see the removal of citrus plants and plant materials, including fruit, leaves and pots from restricted areas, starting within the greater Darwin and Katherine region.
Since the response commenced in April 2018 a total of 10 restricted areas have been declared where plants infected with citrus canker have been detected. These restricted areas are Darwin Airport, Howard Springs, Humpty Doo, Lambells Lagoon, Marrakai, Moulden, Palmerston, Woolner, Wulagi, and Katherine.
Ms Corcoran said while the removal phase of the response was commencing, surveillance work would continue to progress.
“Surveillance and engagement of more than 2,000 premises located with the restricted areas has taken place,” Ms Corcoran said.
“We will continue to work with property owners and citrus plant owners throughout this removal stage.
“To allow citrus trade across Australia and internationally the Northern Territory must demonstrate it is free from citrus canker. To eradicate citrus canker and reach the goal of recommencing trade we need to remove all citrus plants and plant material within a 600 metre radius of infected properties.
“Restricted areas are established to manage the potential natural spread from any infected plants. The 600 meter radius is based on scientific evidence available from previous outbreaks in Australia and overseas.
“Residents living within the restricted areas continue to be advised to not remove the plant or plant materials as this may spread the disease. Removal will be undertaken by authorised inspectors in accordance with required quarantine disposal processes.
“Biosecurity is everybody’s responsibility and we need to work together to help eradicate this disease. Territorians can help the citrus canker response by checking any existing citrus plants for signs of the disease, as well as reporting any citrus plants purchased since August 2016 so they can be checked for signs of infection. Early detection helps towards eradication.
“For those Territorians residing within a restricted area, your continued cooperation with the surveillance and removal of citrus plants and materials is greatly appreciated.”
Citrus canker does not affect human health or animals, and infected fruit remains safe to be consumed.
Source: NT Government