The NSW Government will install 65 new biosecurity signs across the State’s 16 wine regions to keep our world-class vineyards phylloxera free.
Phylloxera are very small aphid-like insects that are regarded as the world’s worst grapevine pest.
Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW Dugald Saunders said an incursion of phylloxera in the State’s prime wine-growing regions would be devastating, not only for wine production but also for the 53,000 people the industry employs.
“The NSW Liberal and National Government is taking the strongest possible approach to keeping our primary industries safe, including our grape sector, which contributes $14 billion to the NSW economy annually,” Mr Saunders said.
“NSW produces some of the finest wine in the world, so it is no surprise we have seen a sharp increase in visitors to vineyards in wine-growing regions like Mudgee, Orange, Tumbarumba, Murrubateman, Griffith and the Hunter Valley.
“With these visitors come the inevitable threat of a biosecurity pest incursion like phylloxera that can spread easily and destroy vines quickly.”
Mr Saunders said movement of phylloxera is most likely caused by immature insects, known as crawlers, which can be easily transported on clothing, footwear, machinery and equipment, and vehicles, or in soil and vine materials, such as grapes and grape products.
“These new signs will not only make visitors aware of the threat phylloxera poses to our wine industry, it will also alert them to the biosecurity measures vineyards have in place to minimise the threat of an incursion like washing shoes and prohibiting entry onto certain parts of their properties.”
Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said it is critical people travelling through wine production areas understand why it’s important phylloxera is prevented from spreading any further.
“The roadside signs will highlight the phylloxera risk and be placed strategically across NSW’s 16 wine regions to maximise their visibility and impact,” Mr Farraway said.
“Transport for NSW, NSW Department of Primary Industries and the NSW Wine Industry Association are working together to protect our viticulture industry from phylloxera, which could devastate the industry and seriously jeopardise the 490 million bottles of wine we produce every year.”
NSW Wine Industry President Mark Bourne said the threat of an incursion of phylloxera is extremely concerning to the sector.
“A single outbreak of phylloxera in NSW’s prime agricultural sector could cost hundreds of millions of dollars and put at risk some of the oldest vineyards and wines in Australia,” Mr Bourne said.
“These new signs will play an important role in increasing awareness and the compliance measures in place when it comes to a phylloxera outbreak, and we welcome this investment from the NSW Government.”
This announcement comes as the NSW Government reinforces its commitment to protecting the State’s $23.1 billion agriculture industry through its new Biosecurity and Food Safety Strategy 2022-2030.
The Strategy will be a guiding principle for governments, and stakeholders in industry, research and the community to prepare for serious pest and disease incursions like phylloxera.