• National Xylella Coordinator
  • MT17006
  • Wine Australia and Hort Innovation are partners in this investment, which is delivered through the Plant Biosecurity Research Initative
  • Jo Luck – Program Director


This multi-industry and multi-sector investment supports the role and activities of a national Xylella coordinator, through the Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative (PBRI).  The PBRI supports cross-sectoral research development and extension to minimise the damaging consequences caused by biosecurity threats to Australian plant industries. This includes endemic and exotic pests, diseases and weeds that affect Australia’s plant industries, community and the environment.

Xylella fastidiosa is an exotic bacteria that prevents a plant from feeding by impeding the movement of rising sap. While Australia is currently free from the pathogen, it has the potential to threaten more than 350 commercial, ornamental and native plant species across the country.

The coordinator role includes developing R&D priorities and projects to help protect Australia’s horticulture and wine sectors from Xylella.

A bit more about Xylella fastiodiosa with thanks to Plant Health Australia

  • A bacterium that lives in the water conducting system (xylem) of plants
  • Can be transmitted in infected propagation material and by leafhoppers such as the exotic glassy-winged sharpshooter
  • Present in North America, Central America and some regions of South America. It is present in a restricted range in Italy, Iran and Taiwan, and is under eradication in some other countries in Europe. View a distribution map.
  • The diseases caused by Xylella fastidiosa go by a range of names depending on the host species, including: Pierce’s disease, almond leaf scorch, bacterial leaf scorch, citrus variegated chlorosis, olive quick decline and olive leaf scorch.



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.

National Xylella Preparedness Workshop Outcomes

View the presentation from the workshop

OCT 2018: Coordinated defence against Australia’s most threatening plant disease

FEB 2019: Australia’s most threatening plant disease targeted