NEW trade conditions were agreed between Australia and New Zealand that will allow Queensland melons to be exported across the Tasman.

New Zealand suspended Queensland cucurbit fruit trade in December 2019 following the detection of cucumber green mottle mosaic virus on melons exported from Queensland Australia to New Zealand.

The Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment assisted Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to develop a pest free place of production management system, that was endorsed by New Zealand, and subsequently enabled the reinstatement of trade.

As part of this management system, a surveillance and sampling model was developed by the department.

On 15 March, New Zealand advised that the suspension has been lifted.

Minister for agriculture David Littleproud welcomed New Zealand’s decision to resume receiving melons from the Sunshine State.

“Queensland growers produce some of the world’s most sought-after fruit because of its clean, green and fresh reputation,” he said.

“The state accounts for a third of Australia’s watermelon production, 38 per cent of our rockmelon harvest, and is a major contributor to our $39.3 million melon export industry.

“I am pleased my department, the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries, Queensland authorities and Australian industry were able to reach a workable solution on biosecurity protocols, which is acceptable to all stakeholders.

“The resumption of Queensland melon trade with our Tasman neighbours means jobs and certainty for our farmers and confirms the strength of our bilateral ties.

“It also means New Zealanders once again have access to some of our country’s famously healthy and fresh horticultural delights.”

Johnathon Davey from Melons Australia welcomed the news.

“This will mean getting melon exports back on track and a more normal future,” Mr Davey said.

And Paul McLaughlin from Melons Australia said the timing was perfect with the upcoming harvest.

“It’s back to business for the growers in Queensland who missed out last year,” Mr McLaughlin said.

An industry advice notice has been issued to provide guidance to growers on export requirements.