Media Release

Vigilance against plant virus affecting cucumber and melons

12 October 2014

Northern Territory authorities have implemented a series of control measures as both the Commonwealth and Northern Territory Government respond to a plant virus that affects cucumber and melons within the territory.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said that good on-farm biosecurity practices and compliance with state control measures are some simple but important steps the community can take to help prevent the spread of exotic plant viruses. 

“Managing biosecurity incidents can take a considerable toll on affected producers, industries and the communities that rely on their success,” Minister Joyce said.

“This is an extremely challenging time for affected producers and their families so we have taken swift action to mobilise resources to ensure impacts from the virus are minimised.

“Three quarantine zones have been declared in the Northern Territory with Northern Territory authorities working together with impacted properties to manage the Cucumber Green Mottle Mosaic Virus.

“As a control measure the quarantine zones restrict movement of plant material, including fruit.

“Surveillance activities have been wrapped up on watermelon farms with additional surveillance activities on cucurbit farms to be undertaken in the coming days. Tracing information is also being analysed to determine the source of infection which will help prevent further spread.

“When a pest or disease incident occurs a strong and dependable system is in place to allow for a rapid and nationally coordinated response.

“And while a special team of plant virologists, emergency response planning specialists and analytical staff have joined the NT Government’s response effort this work can only yield the best results when biosecurity directions are followed and good biosecurity practices are implemented on-farm.”

For more information on plant biosecurity for farms visit the Department of Agriculture’s website www.agriculture.gov.au/animal-plant-health/pests-diseases-weeds/biosecurity/plant_biosecurity.

Advice on the control and management of pests and diseases on crops can be obtained from your local state or territory department of primary industries or agriculture.

If you see signs of plant disease in your local area, report your findings to the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.