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Ongoing project

Citrus industry biosecurity preparedness strategy (CT20006)

Key research provider: Plant Health Australia

What’s it all about?

This investment is delivering improved biosecurity and surveillance outcomes for the Australian citrus industry. It builds on earlier levy-funded project Improving biosecurity preparedness of the Australian citrus industry (CT17001).

The project acknowledges that the citrus industry faces a number of significant exotic pest threats that have the potential to affect production as well as market access. These include Huanglongbing and its psyllid vectors, citrus canker and citrus variegated chlorosis (Xylella). Its work is bolstering biosecurity capacity and technical capability for the Australian citrus industry, and includes a range of preparedness, response and awareness activities.

Importantly, the project involves a nationally coordinated surveillance program for early detection of high-priority pests. It will also be able to provide the industry data to support industry market access and trade.

This project employs a National Citrus Biosecurity Manager who is responsible for working with growers, researchers, industry bodies and the Australian and state government agencies to coordinate citrus surveillance and biosecurity activities across the country. A key element of the coordinator’s work will also be ensuring that growers, consultants, other industry participants and members of the public are more aware of biosecurity and exotic pests of citrus.

A review of the current Citrus Biosecurity Plan (which was developed in 2015) will also occur under this project. The review will assess and confirm high priority pests of the citrus industry and therefore which exotic pests should be the target of biosecurity preparedness, surveillance and diagnostic activities.

This project is delivering activities that will improve the industry’s biosecurity preparedness and ability to survey for exotic pests through the development of a nationally coordinated biosecurity and surveillance program, which will be undertaken under the ‘CitrusWatch’ banner.

Key recruitment decisions have been made with Dr Jessica Lye appointed as the Surveillance Coordinator (as the National Citrus Biosecurity Manager based at Citrus Australia). In addition, recruitment has been completed in the Northern Territory Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade and a Community Engagement Officer (Ms Andrea Sinclair) has been appointed to undertake activities focused at Northern Australia.

Between July 2021 and January 2022, the Project Team have also:

  • Established a Project Steering Group to guide the project's activities
  • Commenced the Citrus Biosecurity Plan review
  • Conducted spring sticky trapping for exotic psyllid and glassy-winged sharpshooter with over 650 traps deployed in spring 2021
  • Developed a targeted surveillance protocol
  • Trialled the protocol through targeted surveillance in two urban areas (Melbourne and Darwin) as well as one commercial orchard in the Yarra Valley. Additional surveillance is planned for the coming months.

Related levy funds

This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Citrus Fund.