Tuesday 20th Nov, 2018

Tassie government defends export fruit from fruit fly

Photo: By James Niland - Flickr: Queensland Fruit Fly - Bactrocera tryoni

AGRICULTURE minister Jeremy Rockliff says the Tasmanian government is seeking to destroy fruit flies at Spreyton and on Flinders Island to maintain the state’s domestic and international market access.

Mr Rockliff said they had worked with fruit growers to bring in measures to prevent any potential spread of fruit fly out of the north-west control zone.

“This has come at a cost to growers in the control zone who have to meet strict protocols to be able to sell their product,” the minister said.

A $2m support package is being made available to affected growers, distributors and retailers of fruit including:

  • Financial assistance for those in the control zone suffering significant financial hardship resulting from implementation of fruit fly prevention measures;
  • Assistance with the costs associated with meeting fruit treatment requirements;
  • Industry assistance to help source new mainland markets for producers within the control zone;
  • Assistance package to help with changes that may be required for packaging;
  • Assistance with fruit clean up and disposal; and
  • Reimbursing costs incurred by industry groups assisting with the response.

“Maintaining confidence in national and international markets is vital for Tasmania,” Mr Rockliff said.

“We must protect Tasmania’s Pest Free Area (PFA) status which provides valuable market access into Asian markets. These export protocols are negotiated by the Commonwealth Government.

“If our PFA status was suspended it could take twelve months or longer to renegotiate after the last fly was destroyed which means next seasons entire cherry crop, potentially other fruits, and the livelihoods and jobs in Tasmania’s wider fruit industries, could be at risk.”

DPIPWE has enacted stricter controls on the movement of fruit from the control zone to other parts of Tasmania.

This means mandatory treatment for fruit and host material leaving the control zone.

Fruit produced from within the control zone, or moved through the control zone still can be moved to other states under permit.

“I note that this summer both Western Australia and South Australia are similarly responding to fruit fly detections in their fruit fly free zones and we are pleased to be sharing our expertise between states,” Mr Rockliff said.

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