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Final policy review: Alternative risk management measures to import Lilium spp cut flowers from Taiwan

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1.1Australia’s biosecurity policy framework

Australia's biosecurity policies aim to protect Australia against the risks that may arise from exotic pests1 entering, establishing and spreading in Australia, thereby threatening Australia's unique flora and fauna, as well as those agricultural industries that are relatively free from serious pests.

The pest risk analysis (PRA) process is an important part of Australia's biosecurity policies. It enables the Australian Government to formally consider the risks that could be associated with proposals to import products into Australia. If the risks are found to exceed Australia’s appropriate level of protection (ALOP), risk management measures are proposed to reduce the risks to an acceptable level. But, if it is not possible to reduce the risks to an acceptable level, then no trade will be allowed.

Successive Australian Governments have maintained a conservative, but not a zero risk, approach to the management of biosecurity risks. This approach is expressed in terms of Australia's ALOP, which reflects community expectations through government policy and is currently described as providing a high level of protection aimed at reducing risk to a very low level, but not to zero.

Australia’s PRAs are undertaken by the Department of Agriculture, hereafter referred to as the department, using teams of technical and scientific experts in relevant fields, and involves consultation with stakeholders at various stages during the process. The department provides recommendations for animal and plant quarantine policy to Australia’s Director of Animal and Plant Quarantine (the Secretary of the Australian Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry). The Director or delegate is responsible for determining whether or not an importation can be permitted under the Quarantine Act 1908, and if so, under what conditions.

More information about Australia’s biosecurity framework is provided in the Import Risk Analysis Handbook 2011 located on the department’s website

1.2This review of policy

Australia has an established policy for the import of many species of cut flowers. Imported cut flowers require mandatory on-arrival fumigation (unless exempt, Section 1.3.3). While Lilium spp. cut flowers are not currently permitted, Australia does permit the importation of Lilium bulbs from the Netherlands, and other countries, for production in open quarantine at a Quarantine Approved Premises (QAP) prior to release as cut flowers.

The purpose of this policy review is to examine a market access request from Taiwan for Lilium spp. cut flowers. This proposal includes a request for exemption of Lilium spp. from mandatory fumigation with methyl bromide.


In 2009, the Bureau of Animal and Plant Health Inspection and Quarantine (BAPHIQ) requested market access for Lilium spp. cut flowers from Taiwan to Australia, and submitted technical information. BAPHIQ advised in September 2010 that lily cut flowers were their highest priority.

The department advised Taiwan that their request was an “A” priority on the Import Market Access Advisory Group list of October 2010.

Taiwan's plant quarantine authority (BAPHIQ) provided supplementary information on their market access request for lily cut flowers to Australia in March 2011 and proposed a field visit by officers of the department during the lily harvest season in April 2011.

Following the official request, officers from the department visited a number of Lilium production areas and packing houses near Houli township in April 2011. The visit was an opportunity to discuss the Taiwan proposal and to collect information and observe pest and disease prevalence first hand, as well as seek clarification from growers and BAPHIQ experts on pest and disease status and management. This assisted the department in undertaking the pest risk analysis of Lilium cut flowers. 

In September 2011, at the 8th Agricultural Working Group between Taiwan and Australia meeting in Canberra, Australia confirmed that the PRA for lily cut flowers was being undertaken on the basis that Taiwan wishes to export without methyl bromide fumigation. Both countries agreed to look at the possibility of a systems approach and other equivalent measures, retaining fumigation as a back-up treatment option.

In June 2012, BAPHIQ proposed equivalent management measures for the treatment of cut flowers and disinfestations from arthropod pests. These include in-field sanitary measures during production involving bulb treatment with systemic pesticide at planting, application of pesticide at flower bud formation, and two weeks prior to harvest under supervision by a BAPHIQ inspector. These measures are also to be recorded and available for audit by BAPHIQ.

In June 2013, at the 10th Agricultural Working Group between Taiwan and Australia meeting in Taipei, BAPHIQ advised that they would also consider methyl bromide fumigation as a management measure.


This review covers market access for Lilium spp. of commercial varieties intended for cut flower end use. Taiwan proposes to export Oriental and Longiflorum hybrids. This review of policy has been extended to include commercial varieties/hybrids that are free of bulbils and not readily propagable. There is no evidence that commercially grown export lily cut flowers that are free of bulbils, and that have reached flowering stage in bud or bloom, are capable of producing bulbils under normal conditions. This excludes L. × elegans (Asiatic lily) and its hybrids, and L. longiflorum × Oriental lilies (LO hybrids) some of which are known to form axil bulbils (Roh 1992, Roh et al. 1996, Roh 2011). This review excludes bulbil forming species of Lilium lancifolium (or L. tigrinum), L. sargentiae, L. sulphureum (or L. myriophyllum) and L. bulbiferum (or L. croceum, L. chaixii) and their hybrids (McRae 1998, Jefferson-Brown and Howland 2002, GRIN 2012).

Taiwan’s original request was for the removal of methyl bromide fumigation as a treatment for lily cut flowers originating from Taiwan for export to Australia. Taiwan has proposed to only send varieties that are free of bulbils, and thus are not readily propagable.

The scope of this review is limited to:

  • identification of biosecurity risks associated with Lilium spp. cut flowers from Taiwan

  • commercial varieties/hybrids that are free of bulbils and not readily propagable

  • evaluation of alternative measures to methyl bromide fumigation that may be equally effective in meeting Australia’s ALOP.

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