AU: Proposed melon levy only months away from grower vote

Melon growers will be asked in the coming months to vote on a new levy package, aimed at improving biosecurity within the sector.

The proposal follows outbreaks of the exotic Cucumber Green Mottle Mosaic Virus which devastated the Northern Territory's melon industry last year.

The Australian Melon Industry Association's Diane Fullelove said the levy would see melon growers pay a compulsory 0.5c per kilogram.

Ms Fullelove said the 0.5c would be split into three different levies.

"There's a 0.3c research and development levy, then a 0.2c per kilo biosecurity levy which makes the half a cent. We're also adding an emergency plant pest response levy which will be set initially at 0," Ms Fullelove said. "While that may seem a little strange, it sits there and, in the event that there is new and exotic incursion of a pest, the industry is asked to activate that levy."

Ms Fullelove said research was an important component of the levy.

Ms Fullelove said the fund would also enable the industry to be signed up to the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed.

She said this was critical as it would allow the industry to have a role in any decision making regarding pests and diseases.

Some form of compensation would also be available under the levy, Ms Fullelove, said if the incursion was eradicable.

Source: abc.net.au

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