MP John McVeigh says foreign imports will risk introducing disease that could harm Queensland's $80 million pineapple industry.
MP John McVeigh says foreign imports will risk introducing disease that could harm Queensland's $80 million pineapple industry. Sharyn O'Neill

Pineapples a political grenade with fight over fruit imports

QUEENSLAND'S favourite spiked fruit has become a political football as state and federal governments bicker over whether to allow Malaysian imports.

Queensland Agriculture Minister John McVeigh said he was "disappointed but not surprised" by his federal counterpart's likely approval of foreign pineapple imports.

He said the overseas produce would risk introducing disease that could risk the state's $80 million pineapple industry.

"Bacterial heart rot and fruit collapse are two diseases that are endemic in Malaysia," Mr McVeigh said.

"Queensland has been the nation's major pineapple producer for a century and allowing these fresh imports will place our industry at enormous risk".

Federal Minister for Agriculture Joe Ludwig said Mr McVeigh's fear-mongering showed the LNP minister's inexperience.

Mr Ludwig said the Federal government had not made a decision but would base its conclusion on science, not politics.

Before foreign-grown pineapples arrive in Australia, exporters and importers must work out a plan outlining protective measures to be taken.

After that, an importer must obtain a permit to import from the Federal Government.

"Misleading comments made today by Minister McVeigh are not only irresponsible, they demonstrate the Newman Government's complete disregard for our biosecurity system," Mr Ludwig said.

"Minister McVeigh simply doesn't understand how the system works."


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