Media Release - May 16, 2018
Fruit fly fight to continue to evolve: IDC
GSPFA IDC Chair Karen Hensgen
The Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area’s Industry Development Committee says it will work with industry and Government in an effort to ensure an effective and cohesive fruit fly strategy is maintained.
The Victorian Minister for Agriculture Jaala Pulford has informed the IDC of her decision not to make the proposed Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area Industry Development Order.
Based on the results of a recent grower poll, the Minister is not satisfied that the Order is supported by the majority of the industry. Without a new Order, the current IDC will wind up its operations in December.
Ms Hensgen said the committee was disappointed that the formal grower ballot fell short of what was required to retain the IDC structure around coordinating the region’s fruit fly management plans.
“The low level of voting from eligible growers is disappointing, but it was encouraging to have strong majority support from those citrus, stone fruit and table growers who did participate,” Ms Hensgen said.
“We’re still trying to evaluate why such a significant number of growers didn’t respond to the postal ballot, because all of our discussions with grower representatives indicate that they support the IDC and its objectives.
“We can only assume that it means Queensland Fruit Fly is currently not an important-enough issue for those growers who didn’t vote, but we’re also concerned that by the time it is important enough, there may not be any assistance on offer.”
The IDC program has focussed on increasing community awareness and education; mass trapping in urban areas; host tree removal; and use of netting and bait sprays.
The IDC will continue its operations until the end of the existing Order, which is in December 2018.
“We will use this time to work with industry and the Victorian and New South Wales Governments to find if there is another way to assist the local community and growers,” Ms Hensgen said.
“It’s been hard work getting the IDC established over the past four years and each committee member has been dedicated to protecting the greater good, and has invested a lot of their personal time and effort,” she said.
“It’s a unique arrangement where three industries have come to work together for a common cause and we’ve been able to demonstrate that fruit fly populations can be suppressed through a combined effort of on-ground control.
“All it takes is adequate resourcing and a willingness for people to take action on their own property whether its a domestic household or a commercial property.”
Ms Hensgen said the committee believed fruit fly management would continue to evolve as a partnership between all levels of Governments, all fruit growing industries and urban Communities.
“Our commitment has been to using world-best practise and emerging technology and we expect future efforts will need to focus on farm-driven Area Wide Management, to ensure the freshest pest free produce continues to be shipped to our international and domestic customers.”