Last week the Victorian Government announced that they have declared the Mornington Peninsula free from phylloxera.

Agriculture Victoria has undertaken a program to upgrade the status of the Mornington Peninsula wine region, from a Phylloxera Risk Zone (PRZ) to a Phylloxera Exclusion Zone (PEZ). It has reported that this program was completed in accordance with the Rezoning Procedure in the National Phylloxera Management Protocol (NPMP).

Phylloxera is a significant pest threat to the wine industry, with the NPMP put in place in 2009 to reduce the risk of spread. Disappointingly, the NPMP, including the Rezoning Procedure, has not been reviewed and updated since.

It is Vinehealth Australia’s position that any rezoning of the phylloxera status of a wine region must be based on a system that uses current scientific information on phylloxera biology, detection, surveillance and contemporary biosecurity principles, to give sufficient confidence in the absence of phylloxera.

Our extensive review of the NPMP and other relevant documentation and literature has highlighted that the current Rezoning Procedure does not meet these requirements.

Vinehealth Australia has previously raised the need for urgent revision of the NPMP, including the Rezoning Procedure, and until this occurs, Vinehealth Australia does not support its use to rezone a wine region.

Vinehealth Australia has written to the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) and to the Minister of Primary Industries and Regional Development providing extensive detail on our technical concerns with the current Rezoning Procedure and, if used, the need to mitigate the risk to South Australian vineyards. This now extends to its use to rezone the Mornington Peninsula.

PIRSA has advised that it is carefully considering the matter and it has not yet made a final determination on the reclassification of the Mornington Peninsula as a PEZ.

Pending its final determination, and in response to the Victorian Government’s announcement today, PIRSA has issued a Chief Inspector Biosecurity Notice.

Vinehealth Australia distributed an Industry Notice on 24 November which clarified that current South Australian entry requirements remain unchanged, and the Mornington Peninsula remains classified as a PRZ for the purposes of imports into South Australia.

Vinehealth Australia will continue to actively engage with PIRSA to inform their consideration and final determination on the matter.

Please do not hesitate to contact Inca Lee on 0418 818 543 if you require further information at this time.