THIRD generation Eumundi ginger farmer, 38-year-old Kylie Templeton, believes results from a senate inquiry into the importation risks of fresh Fiji ginger could make or break the industry.
The inquiry, starting today, led by Queensland Senator Ron Boswell will examine a report from DAFF Biosecurity that Ms Templeton believes is far too lenient in its quarantine requirements.
Ms Templeton who is also treasurer for the Australian Ginger Association said she wasn't against Free Trade laws, just laws that could endanger the growth and viability of Australian ginger.
"Fijian ginger has severe problems with pest and diseases," she said.
"If it gets into Australia, it could wipe out 70% of our crop."
Ms Templeton said the Australian Ginger Association had worked alongside a highly credentialed group of scientists and advocates to make sure the nation's ginger industry was able to provide a well researched, evidence-based response to the Draft IRA. (Import Risk Analysis).
"The scientific evidence states clearly and unequivocally that imports of Fiji ginger will result in the introduction of pathogens putting at serious risk the future viability of the Australian Ginger Industry," Ms Templeton said.
She is also afraid of the financial ramifications such pathogens would bring.
"It would be very costly if we had to fight these things with chemicals," she said.
"Ginger does not use many chemicals. That's why we grow it."
Kylie and her husband, Vince Milne, have been conducting an awareness campaign and gaining signatures for their petition at Eumundi and Yandina markets.
"We have gathered 800 signatures," Ms Templeton said.
The Templeton farms employ about 100 people year-round, but Ms Templeton said if exotic diseases took their toll the end result would be thousands of job losses across the country.
"It would be a domino effect that would include transport, the people who make the boxes and it goes on," she said.
About the Templetons
A Templeton & Son are Australia's largest ginger producers
The farms have been in the family for more than 65 years, started by Kylie's grandfather.
They produce about 2500 tonnes of ginger year-round.
The Templeton's grow ginger on their properties at Eumundi, Kybong, Kenilworth and Kandanga - in all some 60ha.