She won’t be apples under Labor: McCormack

Another unwelcome boat is on its way to Australia only this time it contains Chinese apples not asylum seekers.

Member for Riverina Michael McCormack has learned the first shipment of imported apples from China is due to arrive at Fremantle on January 23.

There could, however, be a shipment landing in Sydney as early as sometime this week.

"Chinese apples should never have been allowed into our country in the first place," Mr McCormack said.

"All this does is undermine and potentially cripple what was a vibrant and self-sustaining Australian industry - one which meant so much to the economic prosperity of Batlow and Tumut districts and many other regional areas as well.

Mr McCormack said the Federal Labor Government wiped its hands of apple growers last July when it did nothing after Biosecurity Australia decided to permit Chinese apples to be imported.

"This was not just an argument that fair trade is always better than free trade," Mr McCormack said. "There were and still are genuine fears that Chinese apples will bring with them disease and pest threats - risks which could devastate the Australian apple industry.

"We have seen what has happened to the Californian citrus industry with the Greening disease - it has wiped it out.

"Why take any risks with Australian food security? It is simply not worth it. Why put our hard-working apple growers out of business with cheap and inferior imports?

Mr McCormack last week exposed what he described as the Government's hypocrisy as it has refused to buy water from willing sellers - Batlow orchardists - who had downsized due to Chinese imports.

"It makes you wonder what this Government has against apple growers," Mr McCormack said

Cristy Houghton