13 May 2020
Who does this notice affect?
This notice is of interest to importers (and their customs brokers) of the following cucurbitaceous seed for sowing (including synonyms) from all countries:
- Citrullus lanatus (watermelon)
- Cucumis melo (cantaloupe)
- Cucumis sativus (cucumber)
- Cucurbita maxima (winter squash, pumpkin)
- Cucurbita moschata (butternut squash, pumpkin)
- Cucurbita pepo (zucchini)
- Lagenaria siceraria (bottle gourd)
- Trichosanthes cucumerina (snake gourd)
What will change and when?
On 12 June 2020, the following conditions will be introduced for the above species, including their synonyms and sub-ordinate taxa. These measures are in addition to existing conditions in BICON. A summary of all measures that will apply to cucurbitaceous seed from 12 June 2020 is provided in Table 1.
(1) For Cucumis sativus (cucumber) seed for sowing only
Cucumis sativus seed for sowing must be treated with a broad-spectrum fungicide (e.g. Thiram) either prior to export, or on-arrival in Australian territory to manage the risk of the fungal pathogen, Diaporthe cucurbitae.
- Seed lots that are treated offshore must be accompanied by a phytosanitary certificate that is endorsed with details of the treatment. Where phytosanitary certification is not presented or accepted, consignments are subject to onshore treatment at a Department-approved site that is able to perform the required treatment.
- Importers are reminded that there are limited facilities available in Australia to perform fungicide treatment in Australia. Importers are responsible for:
- contacting relevant sites to confirm all arrangements prior to importation, including the site’s availability to treat the quantity of seed within the consignment.
- all fees and charges associated with treatment application and departmental supervision.
(2) For all cucurbitaceous vegetable seed species imported for sowing
Additional measures will be in place to manage the risk of khapra beetle (Trogoderma granarium) for all cucurbitaceous vegetable seed species imported for sowing.
- These requirements will apply to full container load (FCL) consignments.
- For FCLs sourced from countries where khapra beetle is present, consignments must be accompanied by an official Government phytosanitary certificate endorsed with the additional declaration: "The plant product(s) were inspected and found free from Khapra beetle (Trogoderma granarium)."
What transition arrangements are in place?
The revised conditions will apply to consignments that are exported to Australia on or after 12 June 2020.
Consignments that are exported to Australia prior to 12 June 2020 will be permitted entry into Australian territory under existing conditions (i.e. no mandatory treatment for Cucumis sativus seed, and khapra beetle conditions), noting that:
- commercial documentation must be provided to the Department to verify that the date of export was prior to 12 June 2020.
- consignments that are unable to meet this requirement will be subject to the revised conditions.
The import conditions that are currently within BICON to manage existing seed-borne pathogens will remain in place. These include:
- Mandatory enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) testing for Cucumber green mottle mosaic virus, Kyuri green mottle mosaic virus, Zucchini green mottle mosaic virus and Melon necrotic spot virus for host seed species of these pathogens.
- Mandatory broad-spectrum fungicide treatment of Cucumis melo seed.
The measures to manage the risk of khapra beetle in imported FCLs are being introduced, as this pest is a national priority plant pest for Australia.
In addition, the increased seed-borne pathogen risks associated with imported seed has prompted the department to review the import conditions for vegetable seeds for sowing. Cucurbitaceous vegetable seeds are one of four families being reviewed and finalised by the department.
Once published, the final review of import conditions for cucurbitaceous seed for sowing can be accessed on the department’s webpage. Stakeholders are encouraged to view the report for further information on the quarantine pests identified on host seed species, and specific pest risk management measures required.
The measures that take effect on 12 June 2020 is the first of several phases under which revised conditions will be introduced. The implementation of further phases is dependent on risk management options being operationally available. The department will keep stakeholders updated in regards to the approach and commencement date for subsequent phases, as the remaining risk management options become available.
Enquiries can be directed to Plant Import Operations on 1800 900 090 or via email at email@example.com (please title the subject line of the email with ‘Plant Tier 2 – Vegetable seeds’).