In the heightened biosecurity landscape in which we now operate, it’s timely as an industry that we review the range of potential entry pathways into South Australia for grape phylloxera, our greatest endemic biosecurity threat.

With ever-increasing use of contract labour and heightened movement of grapes, grape products, machinery and equipment between states and regions, it is vital that South Australia’s Plant Quarantine Standard (SA PQS) is periodically reviewed and improved.

“We have been undertaking a comprehensive review of conditions relating to phylloxera in the SA PQS since the start of 2018, and we are now very close to releasing our proposed list of changes for the wine and grape industries to consider, to strengthen the state quarantine regulations,” said Inca Pearce, CEO of Vinehealth Australia.

A new ‘chapter’ of entry conditions has been drafted and subsequently reviewed by Biosecurity SA.

The next important stage is industry consultation.

In early December, all vineyard owners and wineries in South Australia will be advised of the proposed changes and will have until 30 June 2019 to provide feedback to Vinehealth Australia.

Formal information sessions will be scheduled post-vintage in April and May 2019, with timing guided by the completion of vintage in regions. A dedicated page on Vinehealth’s website will house all relevant content, including background documents, the list of proposed changes, the proposed new SA PQS chapter, frequently asked questions and a feedback form.

“The critical process of industry consultation is planned to occur over a relatively long time period, from this December to next June, to allow growers and wineries adequate time to review the proposed changes and reflect on these changes over vintage,” Inca said.

“We know vintage is a busy time, but it’s also the best time for growers, wineries, contractors and others to quantify any effects of the proposed changes to the SA PQS on their businesses, as this is when most importations of phylloxera risk vectors into the state occur.”

Vinehealth Australia is currently engaging with state and regional wine industry associations to ensure the consultation process is as comprehensive as possible. We are also working closely with regional wine industry association technical groups who are helping to review technical components on behalf of their regions.

If you have any questions about the SA PQS review or consultation process, phone Vinehealth Australia on (08) 8273 0550 and speak to Suzanne McLoughlin or Inca Pearce, or email Inca Pearce on inca@vinehealth.com.au.

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