The biggest biosecurity breach in decades just grew worse with the Queensland Government confirming the White Spot Virus has been detected in Moreton Bay.

When Barnaby Joyce’s department told him about Johnny Depp’s dogs – a matter officials had under control – Joyce ran to the cameras. On White Spot, he is nowhere to be seen.

The Australian Prawn Farming Association has accused the Federal Department of Agriculture of "dropping the ball", following revelations that high numbers of diseased prawns are entering and being sold in Australia.

Recent Senate Estimates hearings revealed significant failings in our biosecurity system on Barnaby Joyce’s watch. Departmental officials admitted that as far back as 2015 non-compliance by importers allowed White Spot infected prawns to be sold in retail outlets throughout Australia. This inaction has possibly contributed to the outbreak of White Spot in the Logan River and now in Moreton Bay.

Minister Joyce must stop hiding behind his junior Assistant Minister, explain the biosecurity failings at our borders and declare what action he is taking to protect Australia’s prawn industry.


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  • Norman Grant
    commented 2017-03-17 12:37:05 +1100
    Regardless of the source of the outbreak, which is looking increasingly less like imported prawns, the handling of this incident has been appalling. The cost of the trade suspension to importers (including iconic names in Australia’s seafood industry), 200-300 wholesalers and 40,000 food service outlets in direct costs and lost business is in the order of $250 million – 10 x the cost to prawn farmers. Not to mention higher prices to consumers. All of which could have been avoided by better biosecurity at the source – prawn farms; and better zoning – eg. not clusters of farms on major angling rivers 40 mins drive from the CBD of two cities, and emptying into waterways like Moreton Bay. Now the Govt is considering reinstating the same circumstances and hoping foreign exporters, and Australian importers who provide 75% of our seafood, and Australian food service outlets and consumers, will continue to cover the cost of this risk.