Under Section 14 of the Phylloxera and Grape Industry Act (1995), it states that if an outbreak occurs, the Chief Inspector and presiding member of the Board must:
- Determine the appropriate action to be taken to control the outbreak, and
- Provide on-going advice to the minister in relation to the outbreak and the action being taken to control it.
In the event of detection of phylloxera in South Australia the Minister for Agriculture Food and Fisheries can (through Biosecurity SA and the Chief Inspector) establish quarantine areas and issue Orders under the Plant Health Act (2009) in order to manage the incursion. Vinehealth Australia, in collaboration with Biosecurity SA, has established a Phylloxera Outbreak Management Plan (currently under review) which is based on national arrangements for managing plant pest incursions.
In the event of an Outbreak being declared, the Minister, on advice provided by Biosecurity SA, will determine and declare the regulated zone that will be enforced.
Following the experience of the 2006 detection of Phylloxera in the Yarra Valley, the Board identified a need to assist regions to prepare for the possibility that a region may be declared a Phylloxera Infested Zone (PIZ) by Biosecurity SA. Experience has shown that detections occur in the lead up to vintage when the pest is most active as there is much more activity by vineyard staff, therefore increasing the potential for movement and detection of the pest.
The impact on a region in being declared a PIZ is significant, especially when it occurs at the point of vintage and fruit is to be harvested and moved. A major impact in a region is the movement of fruit in and out of a region. Firstly, all fruit moving out of a region for processing elsewhere is prohibited. Secondly, fruit can come into a PIZ but all machinery (harvesters and bins) require treatment in accordance with the regulations. If machinery is required to move in and out of the PIZ, then facilities would need to be established to ensure compliance with the Plant Quarantine Standards. The impact can be that fruit cannot be processed if there is an insufficient crushing capability in a region or wineries are not prepared to contract crush fruit that is surplus to their requirements.
The Regional Plan has a major role in assisting in the preparedness of a region by undertaking some planning to ascertain the capabilities of a region. The potential sighting of disinfestation facilities and the implementation of local awareness programs can also be aspects of the plan which will be unique to the needs of each region.
The Regional Plan is a living document that is required to be reviewed on an annual basis to ensure that all stakeholders are still engaged in the plan and prepared to work together as a regional grape growing community.
Regional Plans are the most important outcome from a simulation outbreak exercise.
Business Continuity Plans
Vinehealth Australia has been working hard to educate individual growers in biosecurity, because in the event of an incursion of phylloxera or other devastating pest or disease, it will be the individual grower who’s livelihood may suffer. As a result, Vinehealth is actively encouraging each wine business to include biosecurity into their business continuity plans, which will involve taking the time to discuss “the what ifs” and activate preventative measures to mitigate biosecurity risks.