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State vs federal in WA grape gripe

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A proposal to allow Californian grapes into Western Australia is seeing the state’s Department of Agriculture take on its federal counterpart in an effort to maintain its pest-free reputation.

According to thewest.com.au, the WA Department of Agriculture and Food is disputing the Federal department’s finding that grapes imported from California carry a low risk of bringing the fungal pathogen, phomopsis viticola, with them.

WA department's biosecurity experts are arguing that there is a high risk the pathogen could be introduced to the state, and would then threaten to wipe out its table grape and wine industries.

Growers from  Margaret River and Swan Valley have united to oppose the lifting of the ban on imports, with Swan Valley and Regional Winemakers Association president John Griffiths arguing that the federal department is putting free trade above the welfare of family-run vineyards.Griffiths said importing Californian grapes would open the door to several other pests and diseases including phylloxera and Pierce's disease, one of the biggest threats to grape growers.

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