Gathering data to inform future import and export opportunities

9 November 2015

I'm pleased to release the Norfolk Island Quarantine Survey (NIQS), which will assist with the safe movement of plant and animal products into and out of Norfolk Island and market negotiations for new imports and exports.

The Survey was undertaken over a period of 18 months by the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture to provide a detailed portrait of the Island's plant and animal health status to determine what pests and diseases are present (as well as absent). The report provides important baseline data for the development of appropriate measures for the safe import (to) and export from Norfolk Island. Each (new) plant or animal commodity will require an appropriate risk analysis to be undertaken, the data provided by NIQS will expedite these.

The findings will inform options for biosecurity arrangements on Norfolk Island, following the extension of the full suite of border control arrangements, including quarantine, from 1 July 2016.

Gaining access to export markets, including mainland Australia, for plant and animal products includes the need for a risk analysis and accurate, current data on the plant and animal pests on Norfolk Island, which NIQS outcomes provide.

The Survey identified that quarantine barriers between Norfolk Island, the Australian mainland and New Zealand should be maintained or strengthened.

Norfolk Island is free from many pests which are present in Australia (such as Queensland fruit fly, silver leaf whitefly) and New Zealand (such as fire blight), some of which could severely impact crop production. The varroa mite from New Zealand could similarly devastate the island's honey industry.

Norfolk Island does however have several plant, animal and pest species of quarantine (biosecurity) concern present on the Island that are not recorded on the Australian mainland. These include coffee rust, black sigatoka and tomato potato psyllid.

As a result of the survey, quarantine capabilities and capacity on Norfolk Island have now been enhanced, following community engagement and improved diagnostic capabilities that are now supported by strong links with professionals on the Island.

Whilst implementation of the findings of the survey are largely a matter for the Administration of Norfolk Island (until 1 July 2016), the Department of Agriculture will maintain an interest in the findings of the report as it is likely a number of these will relate to biosecurity services which will be implemented as part of the introduction of Commonwealth biosecurity and quarantine services to Norfolk Island from 1 July 2016.

The Norfolk Island Quarantine Survey report is available at www.infrastructure.gov.au/territories/publications

The Hon. Gary Hardgrave