Easing of restrictions for the control of citrus canker

The declared restricted area for the control of citrus canker disease has been removed from properties in Cossack, Katherine.

The restricted area was established in June 2018 after a plant with the citrus canker disease was found in Cossack. The restricted area affected 20 properties which were within 600 metres of a plant infected with citrus canker.

Chief Plant Health Officer, Dr Anne Walters, said she was pleased with the update and thanked the community of Cossack for their support.

“The restricted area in Katherine was cleared of all citrus canker host plants in late 2018 and there has been no evidence of citrus canker disease or any regrowth in the area,” she said.

“A designated minimum of six months without citrus canker host plants, known as the host free period, and no record of citrus canker disease during regrowth surveillance activities, has allowed for the restricted area to be removed.”

Two control areas for the control of citrus canker still remain in place around the greater Darwin and Katherine areas, and 12 restricted areas remain in the greater Darwin area.

Dr Walters said that to ensure the disease was not persisting in the environment, citrus canker host plants cannot be taken into or grown in the remaining restricted areas and citrus produce still cannot be moved out of the control areas without a permit.

“These changes are great news for residents in Katherine as it allows residents in the former restricted area to cultivate and plant citrus plants again.

“Citrus plants may be purchased from within the Katherine Control Area or areas free from citrus canker for planting within the former Katherine Restricted Area. Plants may not be purchased or moved from the Darwin Control Area as quarantine movement restrictions are still in place.

“The restriction on moving citrus fruit and juice from the control areas into a restricted area was also lifted today. This allows citrus growers within the larger control areas to sell their citrus fruit and juice to residents in restricted areas if the produce is for human consumption,” Dr Walters said.

“The support and cooperation of growers in complying with these restrictions to date is appreciated and we support them in being able to start supplying locally grown citrus fruit and juice again in the restricted areas.”

The movement and cultivation restrictions are in place to help eradicate citrus canker from the Territory and allow Australia to claim freedom from this serious plant disease.

Last updated: 12 December 2019

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