MPI has to date failed to engage with the affected industry group and are now seeking an extension to the interim orders made by the High Court, which will otherwise expire at 5pm today.
Paul Paynter, CEO of The Yummy Fruit Company (part of Johnny Appleseed Holdings Limited) said, “The judge specifically directed MPI to engage with us as a group to define a solution. We have reached out to MPI on three occasions and only recently received a response regarding possible meeting dates.
“We have told MPI that wea re open to giving them the extension of time they seek, but on the basis that they now properly engage with us in order to fins a sensible way forward.
“MPI’s request for an extension places a significant question mark over the urgency claimed by MPI in relations to its previous directive and indicates that the biosecurity risk here is actuallly negligible.
“Individually and as a group, we’ve had to jump at the demands of MPI and meet unrealistic timeframes for containment of plant materials. This has put us under significant personal and financial stress. Yet MPI want us to give them the luxury of time to review the situation and work at their own pace,” added Paul.
During the extended negotation timeframe, the interim order remains in place, maintaining the status quo for the plant materials in question.
“Some trees have been destroyed. The vast majority of trees have been contained, netted and sprayed. A number of trees have been moved into storage and will need to be planted urgently otherwise they will die from transplant stress. This is not an acceptable outcome,” said Paul.
“We expect MPI to engage openly and fully with the affected industry members to find a way forward. This is what the judge’s ruling required and MPI do not appear to have taken this seriously.
“We have always been willing to enter into open discussions and negotiations with MPI and will continue to hold the door open,” added Paul.