By Natalie Sprott, Tom Kojrowicz

Myrtle rust
Myrtle Rust is characterised by powdery, yellow pustules on stems or young leaves. Photo: Doug Beckers / Flickr

The Queensland horticulture industry is concerned over the arrival of devastating plant disease Myrtle Rust.

The disease arrived in Queensland after it was found in New South Wales last year.

Queensland’s commercial plant industries estimate the disease will cost up to $156 million and will put 20 per cent of plant species under threat.

Nursery and Garden Industry Queensland spokesman John McDonald says provisions for the disease should have been included in yesterday’s Budget speech.

“We equate the disease to be the foot and mouth [disease] of the plant industry,” he said.

“At the moment though we’ve got a lack of will from our State and Federal Governments.”

Nova Gardens Nurseries retail manager Mark Hawkins says it is important for gardeners to purchase certain plants to help control Myrtle Rust.

“From my knowledge and understanding all nurseries are following that protocol,” he said.

“It’s obviously in our own best interests in the long term.”

Despite the concerns, CSIRO Cooperative Researcher for Weed Management Systems, Dr Louise Morin, says scientists are still learning about how to control Myrtle Rust.

“We’ve all been in a response mode since last year when [Myrtle Rust] was first recorded,” she said.

The Government has asked anybody with suspected instances of myrtle rust on properties to call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881.