Image for Federal government grappling with plant disease

By Bel Tromp

Wednesday, 08/06/2011

It might not ring alarm bells with most Australians, but the plant disease “myrtle rust” is causing headaches for government scientists, industry and environmentalists.

Myrtle rust is a plant fungus from South America that found its way to Australia. It was first detected in April last year at a flower nursery on the NSW Central coast.

Since then it’s spread up the east coast into parts of Queensland.

Because it travels through the air, there’s no way of stopping it.

While it’s early days yet, myrtle rust could devastate eucalyptus forests and commercial tree plantations.

For more information visit these sites:

Listen to: Myrtle Rust

In this report: Greg Muller talks to Dr Colin Grant, Executive Manager for Biosecurity Australia; Ron McInnes, CEO of Timber Queensland; Tim Low, biologist and project officer with the Invasive Species Counc