About the program

National Myrtle Rust Transition to Management Program

The Australian Government is investing $1.5 million from July 2011 to June 2013 to progress a transition from eradication of Myrtle rust to management of the disease as it becomes naturalised and establishes itself in various ecological niches across Australia.  This investment will provide information and tools to enable industries and communities to mitigate the impacts of the disease in urban, primary production and natural environments.

The National Myrtle Rust Transition to Management (T2M) program will be implemented as a series of research and development projects providing multi-jurisdictional benefits with both immediate outcomes and longer term benefits.

Jurisdictions and research organisations have indicated an intention to undertake complementary work that augments the program. In recognition of the desire to achieve protection of social amenity and assets within Queensland, the Queensland Government plans to fund complementary activities that focus on increasing knowledge of Myrtle rust under Queensland conditions, and community engagement to reduce the impact of the rust. Complementary research on elements of managing the impact of Myrtle rust is also being funded by other organisations such as RIRDC, the CRC Plant Biosecurity and the tea tree industry.

Background

The rust caused by Uredo rangelii, which is known as Myrtle rust, was detected in Australia on 23 April 2010 on a cut flower growing property on the central coast of New South Wales. On 30 April 2010, the National Management Group (NMG) agreed that it was not technically feasible to eradicate Myrtle rust from Australia. On 2 July 2010, the NMG agreed to implement an Interim Response Plan (IRP) aimed at collating more information and knowledge of the disease, and the incursion, and to investigate whether containment and suppression might lead to possible eradication of the fungus. With the detection of Myrtle rust in several nature reserves and some State Forests in the Central Coast and subsequently in Queensland through December 2010, the NMG confirmed on 23 December 2010 that eradication of the pathogen was not technically feasible, despite efforts under the IRP to suppress the disease. However, NMG also agreed there was a need for ongoing arrangements for the management of the pathogen due to the potential for further impact on the natural environment, the community and affected industries.

Program Management and Governance

The program will be delivered through a range of contracts under the oversight of a Transition Management Group (TMG). The TMG will oversee program establishment, monitor its delivery and consider any triggers arising that necessitate a review of the program. The TMG is chaired by DAFF and originally consisted of senior representatives from DAFF, Biosecurity Queensland, and, NSW Department of Primary Industries. Senior representatives from Department of Primary Industries Victoria were invited to join the TMG following the detection of Myrtle Rust in Victoria. More recently, representatives from DSEWPaC and DEWHA as well as the environmental departments in Queensland, NSW, and Victoria have joined the TMG as have representatives from the Australian Seed Bank Partnership and Australian Forest Products Association.

Plant Health Australia attends meetings in an observatory capacity in recognition of its role in administration of the program and also provides the secretariat for the MRTMG.

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