New fruit fly council with $1.2 million backing to tackle worst pest of horticulture

A joint national council, covering all levels of Government, has been established to tackle horticulture’s biggest pest, Mediterranean and Queensland fruit fly.

Tasmania enjoys statewide freedom from the pest fly and has privileged access to lucrative trade markets, while other states like NSW, Victoria and South Australia have to put their fruit through expensive and slow treatments in order to export to international markets.

A national strategy for fruit fly control has long been identified as the missing link in dealing with fruit fly, and now a joint council has received $1.2 million in funding to be developed over three years.

Greg Fraser, of Plant Health Australia, is calling for members from local government, growers and peak industry bodies to be on the new national council.

“This is a great initiative,” Mr Fraser said.

“We’ve got support from State and Territory Governments, Horticulture Innovation Australia, through industry, the Commonwealth Government, we have $400,000 a year for three years.

“We’ve been working in this space for a long time, but national coordination is one of the key elements to get on top of fruit fly.”

Mr Fraser said local councils, farmers and households with backyard fruit trees all had a role to play in combating the pest.

The Council will link to two new positions in Horticulture Innovation Australia and the Sterile Insect Technology program, established at Port Augusta, in South Australia.

The Council will focus on four main areas:

Fruit fly management – preventing, detecting, eradicating and managing fruit flies.
Market access – securing entry conditions for horticulture produce into new markets.
Policy – harmonising management across state borders.
Research – ensuring R&D is technically justifiable approaches and innovative solutions.

Source: ABC News