National Xylella Preparedness Workshop

Plant Health Australia coordinated a National Xylella Preparedness Workshop held in Melbourne on 1 June 2016, funded by the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. The workshop was attended by participants from industry, government and research agencies, including representatives from New Zealand, for the purpose of:

  • Enhancing identification, awareness and coordination of national preparedness activities for Xylella fastidiosa (Xylella) for key stakeholders.
  • Enhancing understanding by workshop participants of the impacts of Xylella.
  • Assessing the current status of biosecurity preparedness activities, identification of gaps in preparedness efforts and plans for how these gaps might be addressed.
  • Outlining future areas of investment for Xylella biosecurity preparedness.

Read more about the workshop outcomes, including:

  • Assessment of current preparedness for Xylella
  • Priorities for future Xylella biosecurity preparedness activities.



Xylella presentationView the presentation from the workshop, Xylella fastidiosa: a biosecurity threat to Australia.




Background on Xylella

Xylella fastidiosa is an invasive bacterial plant pathogen that causes significant environmental and economic impacts. Over 200 commercial and ornamental plant species are susceptible to this pathogen, and every year tests show more plant species are capable of being infected. Xylella is spreading around the world, and although it is not present in Australia it is of major concern to Australia’s plant industries. It is vectored by xylem feeding insect species.

Several strains of Xylella have been identified on the basis of reaction on different hosts.  The host range has continued to expand as more is known about the pathogen. Depending on the host, the disease is known by a range of common names, including: Pierce’s disease, California vine disease, Anaheim disease (in grapevine), Alfalfa dwarf disease (in lucerne), phony disease (in peach), leaf scald (in plum), quick decline (in olive), leaf scorch (in coffee, almond, blueberry, olive, oleander, elm, oak, plane, mulberry, maple), and variegated chlorosis (in citrus).

Symptoms vary between hosts and can be easily confused with water stress or the presence of other pathogens. Generally, the main symptoms are scorching of leaves, browning and loss of leaves, stunting of young shoots, gradual reduction in fruit size over time, dieback and eventual death of the plant. Some plants can be infected with Xylella but not show any symptoms or significant effects.

Speakers schedule

8.15 Coffee and tea on arrival
8.30 Welcome and Introduction Sally Troy (Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, DAWR) and Dr Stephen Dibley (Plant Health Australia)
9.00 Background and overview

  • World picture
  • Host range and impact
  • Why is Xylella an issue for Australian plant production industries?
  • Update from IPPC Xylella conference
Luigi Paglia (DAWR) and Fiona Constable (Agriculture Victoria)
10.00 Workshop Session 1: Pathways for Xylella

  • Broad identification of pathways for Xylella and its vectors
Stephen Dibley
10.30 Morning tea
11.00 Workshop Session 2: Activities to deliver Xylella response options

  • Overview of potential response scenarios
  • Identification of activities and outcomes to achieve each of the potential scenarios
Stephen Dibley
12.30 Lunch
1.30 Workshop Session 3: Prioritisation and forward approaches for preparedness for Xylella

  • Review of key activities outcomes and elucidation of activity details required for delivery
  • Gap identification in current preparedness for Xylella
  • Prioritisation and development of a draft National Action Plan
Stephen Dibley
2.10 Workshop Session 4: Project plans for key priorities for Xylella preparedness

  • Explore potential outcomes that can be achieved for Xylella preparedness
  • Identify future roles, responsibilities, capacity and capability for each stakeholder group
  • Identify top priorities for preparedness
Stephen Dibley
3.00 Afternoon tea
3.15 Report back from groups
3.45 Learnings and next steps Stephen Dibley
4.00 Close