Northern Territory Government:

Citrus Canker eradication 2021

Citrus canker, a significant bacterial disease of citrus plants that was detected in the Territory in April 2018, has now been eradicated thanks to the support of the local community and industry.

Through a national cost-shared program that ran from May 2018 to March 2021, the eradication program was critical for protecting Australia’s national citrus industry and international markets.

Nationally, the citrus industry is valued at $942 million, with exports valued at around $508 million, whilst the Australian nursery sector is valued at $2.6 billion supplying nursery stock into citrus industry and retail supply chains.

During the course of the National Citrus Canker eradication program, more than 270 employees worked on the eradication project supporting all elements from operations encompassing community engagement, compliance, science, and planning.

Funding was provided from the Commonwealth Government, state and territory governments, and citrus and nursery industry partners, noting the disease had the potential to impact the national citrus industry through loss of trees, reduced fruit production, reputation risk lowering prices for fruit into market, with the potential for loss of important international markets if left unchecked.

The community should be acknowledged for their role in supporting the eradication efforts with 6,192 host plants removed from properties and nurseries across Darwin and Katherine.

After a significant effort over three years, the Territory is now free of citrus canker.

This means that nationally, industry will continue to access important international markets and locally, our growers will be able to move plants and plant-related products interstate without additional treatments or inspections being required. This is important for ensuring our growers remain competitive and profitable.

Proof of Freedom was signed by the National Management Group for Biosecurity on 8 April 2021.

Work will now begin on adjusting the biosecurity arrangements back to ‘pre-citrus-canker’ times.

This will be a transitional process over the coming weeks. Once completed, all movement requirements will be lifted.

The National Citrus Canker eradication program has run over three years with an action plan outlining: community and industry engagement, compliance, movement controls, treatment, tracing, surveillance, epidemiology, diagnostics and science and recovery.

Quick facts

  • 15,000 host plants were surveyed in the NT
  • 32 positive samples were identified
  • 6,192 host plants were removed from properties and nurseries across Darwin and Katherine
  • The department followed strict procedures and protocols to prevent the spread of citrus canker through contamination of people, plants and vehicles.
  • 270 employees worked on the project
  • Locals played a big part in eradicating Citrus Canker from the Territory.


Click here to read the full press release.

For more information:
Northern Territory Government
Tel.: +61 0428 052 647

Publication date:

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