MELBOURNE, June 21 — Queensland pineapple farmers need protection from Malaysian imports which they claim could bring in pests and disease, the state's agriculture minister said today.
The Federal Department of Agriculture is yet to make a decision on Malaysia's application to export pineapples to Australia.
Queensland Agriculture Minister John McVeigh said imports could put Queensland's pineapple industry at risk due to exotic diseases such as bacterial heart rot and fruit collapse.
"The (Julia) Gillard Labour government risks wiping out a key regional industry in Queensland for the sake of its bureaucratic and process-driven open door trade policies.
"This is about a lazy government and faceless bureaucrats making decisions that could wipe out our pineapple industry," he said in a statement.
Queensland has been Australia's major pineapple-producing state for the past 100 years.
The A$80 million industry underpins more than 1,000 jobs on Queensland farms and through the supply chain during the peak season.
McVeigh also intends to fight Canberra's proposal to allow fresh ginger imports from Fiji, which he says risks further bacterial diseases, along with contaminated soil.
"I call on Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig to start standing up for his fellow Queenslanders and fight in the federal cabinet to put an end to this nonsense," he added. — Bernama