SA “means business” with new measures to prevent fruit fly outbreaks

Image credit: flickr User: James Niland

Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Minister Leon Bignell revealed the state government’s plans to protect South Australia’s $675 million horticultural industry and “the state’s clean and green image” by introducing a wide range of measures intended to prevent fruit fly outbreaks.

Image credit: flickr User: James Niland
Image credit: flickr User: James Niland

“South Australia has an international reputation as being fruit fly free, phylloxera free, and GM free, and we need to be vigilant and work hard to maintain this status and support our exports of premium food and wine. Thanks to our stringent biosecurity measures and diligence around the fruit fly threat, South Australia has remained free of this pest despite an increasing number of outbreaks interstate in recent years,” the Minister said in his address before the State Parliament last week.

“Right now across the Sunraysia region of Victoria and New South Wales, 31 separate outbreaks of Queensland fruit fly are being managed, with more than 300 individual flies trapped in the region during winter. Successfully managed outbreaks in the Riverland and at Sellicks Beach earlier this year have reminded us we need to do all we can to protect our state from fruit fly.”

The range of measures introduced include longer operation hours for quarantine stations – such as the Pinnaroo Quarantine Station which will open a month earlier than usual (1 November) and close a month later (at the end of May) – increased audits of imported fruit, community awareness campaigns, random road blocks, reviewing imported consignments to identify unregistered importers, consultation to revise the South Australian Fruit Fly Strategy to confirm roles and responsibilities in the event of a fruit fly outbreak in the Riverland.

“The measures announced today, and the State Government’s on-going investment, will strengthen the ring of protection around South Australia, and particularly the Riverland fruit growing area,” the Minister said.

The State Government will also invest $3 million in the Sterile Insect Technology facility at Port Augusta which, according to the Minister, has support from national research partners for a another $22 million in fruit fly research and development over the course of five years.