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23/12/2009

Move vineyards to be inspected in phylloxera fight

The Victorian Government is conducting surveys throughout vineyards in the state’s west to prepare for an expansion of its Western Phylloxera Exclusion Zone (PEZ).

Agriculture minister Joe Helper says major towns targeted include Birchip, Charlton, Colac, Dimboola, Donald, Geelong, Hopetoun, Ouyen, Sea Lake, Torquay, Warracknabeal and Wycheproof.

“Successful rezoning of this region would ensure the majority of Victoria’s western half was surveyed and considered a PEZ,” he said.

“The existing PEZ is a major production area for wine, table grapes, dried fruit and the propagation of grapevines.

“It is essential that we continue to work with and protect the industry from phylloxera in order to protect Victorian jobs and valuable export markets.”

Helper says expanding the zone will enable the district’s growers to move vine material and grape produce into the current PEZs in Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales, with lower compliance costs and less regulation.

“The PEZ also strengthens the region’s level of biosecurity by regulating the movement of vine material and produce into the PEZ from non-PEZ areas,” he said.

“Industry representatives are working with Government to identify all growers in the proposed survey areas to assist in the program.”

Vineyards will be surveyed over a three-year period, where according to national protocols, they will be surveyed on the first and third year and must be found free of phylloxera on both occasions.

The surveys are funded through the Victorian Government $205 Future Farming Strategy and are part of the new Victorian Viticulture Biosecurity Committee’s Strategic Plan.

For more information visit www.dpi.vic.gov.au/psb or call 136 186.

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