The Australian potato industry today is stunned at the cavalier and uncooperative attitude of the Victorian DPI and its plans to undermine the management of the National Potato Cyst Nematode Plan.
AUSVEG is the National Peak Industry Body representing Australia’s 2,000 potato growers.
The Victorian DPI is currently planning to overhaul their state requirements for Managing the Potato Cyst Nematode or PCN and force these requirements upon the rest of Australia without thought to the impact this will have on state counterparts in other DPI’s as well as interstate growers.
In what is being described as an act of sheer arrogance the Victorian DPI are paying little attention to the effects their PCN regulations will have on the National Potato industry.
“The Victorian Government has gone behind the scenes and developed their own methodology of managing PCN in complete isolation and have ignored the National PCN Management plan that was developed after consultation around the entire country,” said AUSVEG Public Affairs Manager, William Churchill.
“What is surprising is that the Victorian DPI is hell bent on rushing into place legislation to manage PCN when the National Plan is in the final stages of assessment by all Governments. It’s not changing horses mid race, it’s changing from a horse to a mule right at the finishing line,” said Mr Churchill.
The Victorian DPI plan to rush new legislation into place by mid-February and require potato growers around the country to complete new tests for PCN on their property. The end result will be a bottleneck to trade as growers try to get their potatoes certified by labs.
“Why the Victorian government is rushing into such poorly thought out regulations is beyond belief,” said Mr Churchill.
AUSVEG is calling on the Victorian DPI to follow proper process and finish the discussions with their state counterparts and avoid major disruptions to the potato industry.
“The Victorian DPI should not be negotiating with a big stick to try and intimidate other states into following their lead. This is reckless behaviour and something that should be condemned by the Victorian Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh,” said Mr Churchill.
MEDIA CONTACT: William Churchill – Public Affairs Manager – AUSVEG Phone: (03) 9822 0388, Mobile: 0411 166 748, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org