Victoria Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh
Govt Steps Up Fight Against Qld Fruit Fly Threat
Victor P Taffa
Victoria is facing one of the worst seasons for Queensland fruit fly outbreaks since records began in 1947, Minister for Agriculture and Food Security Peter Walsh warned today.
Mr. Walsh said Queensland fruit fly outbreaks had been declared in most of Victoria’s key fruit-producing regions.
“There are now almost 60 outbreaks either declared or being declared across the state, many of which are in Victoria’s premium fruit-growing regions.” Mr. Walsh said.
“The widespread warm, humid conditions across Victoria in recent weeks have been ideal for fruit fly activity and make it one of the worst seasons for outbreaks in more than 60 years.”
Mr. Walsh said the Coalition Government was working closely with industry groups to minimise the threat posed by Queensland fruit fly, but that the co-operation of all Victorians was also crucial.
“The threat posed by Queensland fruit fly is yet another challenge confronting our food producers after years of drought followed by devastating floods and a serious locust plague.” Mr. Walsh said.
“Queensland fruit fly has the ability to disrupt some domestic and international markets and impose significant additional treatment costs on fruit producers.”
“Local communities have a key role to play in minimising the impact of the pest by vigilantly monitoring their backyard fruit trees and notifying the Department of Primary Industries immediately if they find any signs of fruit fly.”
“It’s also essential that the travelling public play their role by remembering that it is illegal to carry fruit into our protected fruit production areas, or from areas where there is a fruit fly infestation.”
Mr. Walsh said the current outbreaks were mainly in Sunraysia, the Goulburn Valley and North-East Victoria, but that there were also some in East Gippsland.
“These regions include most of our high-value fruit production and DPI is undertaking a major response to manage outbreaks and protect these industries.” Mr. Walsh said.
“Travellers must remember that it’s illegal to carry fruit fly host produce into these areas, and significant fines are applicable because of the risk to our fruit industries.” Mr. Walsh said.