ZERO TOLERANCE AT OUR BORDERS CRITICAL TO KEEPING FRUIT FLY OUT
Industry Leaders call for continued zero tolerance at South Australia borders in a plead to keep our State Fruit Fly free and safeguard the $1.2 billion horticultural industry.
The threat of Queensland Fruit Fly incursion into SA has escalated over the past decade as it has spread through NSW and Victoria. This pest is now widely established throughout the Mildura/ Sunraysia region – right on our doorstep.
“Fruit Fly is the world’s most destructive and devastating pest for fruit and fruiting vegetable production. Tight border controls are essential in protecting South Australia’s $1.2 billion horticulture industry, as the pressure has never been greater” says Angelo Demasi, Chair Horticultural Coalition SA.
Susie Green, CEO, Apple & Pear Growers Association of SA is calling on the Government to bring in zero tolerance at all borders and check points.”
“Just one piece of maggot infested fruit, carelessly discarded by a traveller, can devastate an industry and a community; and cost thousands of jobs. During the recent outbreak at Lindsay Point, it cost one grower nearly a million dollars, for special treatment, just to get fruit to market.” Said Susie.
South Australia’s citrus and stone fruit exports are underpinned by the Riverland’s prized fruit fly free status and one outbreak alone can destroy export opportunities and cause major job losses.
If fruit fly becomes endemic in South Australia, which could happen if border controls are relaxed, it would decimate many of our fruit industries.
Home-grown fruit and vegetable gardens, which householders are increasingly embracing, would also be put at risk as gardens would become infested with maggots.
This State Government is applying the law as it was originally written and intended, several decades ago. Successive previous State Governments have applied a ‘slap on the wrist’ approach which has failed to work.
Tim Grieger, Executive Officer Summerfruit SA, said “The message must be loud and clear – bring fruit over the border into SA and a $375 fine will apply. Travellers coming into SA from the east, caught with fruit on board, have a disposal bin option before the Yamba Quarantine Station, to get rid of it. There is plenty of signage.”
“Ignorance of the law is no excuse; just as it is no excuse with speeding and traffic infringements. We don’t wish for people to be fined. We wish for people to be aware of the law and to heed the law.”
The Riverland Region is the only Australian mainland area that has pest free status. This is critical for keeping our export markets; and gives SA a huge competitive advantage.
Opposition to the zero tolerance is a lack of understanding of the seriousness of fruit fly risk and the massive devastation that it can cause to the horticultural industry.
“Zero tolerance is working. The amount of fruit seized at the Yamba Quarantine Station has dropped dramatically since its introduction just over a year ago. This will significantly reduce further as awareness campaigns continue to be rolled out across Australia.” Tim said.
Mark Doecke – Citrus SA – 0408 499 287
Susie Green – CEO, Apple & Pear Growers Association of SA & Cherry Growers Association of SA – 0417 451 999
Chris Byrne – Chair, Riverland Wine – 0419 555 001
Angelo Demasi – Chair, Horticulture Coalition of SA / SA Produce Markets 8349 4493
Kym Thiel – President, Avocado Growers Association 0437 939 119
Amy Williams – Executive Officer, Horticulture Coalition of SA – 0427 803 805
Tim Grieger – Executive Officer, Summerfruit SA – 0409 099 122