Riverland on its own with fruit fly?

The Opposition today called on the State Government to guarantee it would eradicate any future fruit fly outbreaks in the Riverland.

The Opposition today called on the State Government to guarantee it would eradicate any future fruit fly outbreaks in the Riverland.

The Riverland and South Australia face the prospect of being the only part of mainland Australia where fruit fly is not endemic following the abandonment of fruit fly eradication efforts in New South Wales and Victoria.

Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Adrian Pederick said food producers needed a firm commitment on biosecurity.

“We have a government which seems very keen to inflict biosecurity fees on farmers yet where is the Weatherill Labor Government’s commitment to biosecurity in this State?” Mr Pederick said.

“Minister Gago needs to have strict management controls in place in order to protect the $1 billion generated in SA by fruit and other crops that could be decimated by the real threat of a fruit fly outbreak.”

Member for Chaffey Tim Whetstone said the Riverland could soon find itself under siege from fruit fly.

“We’ve already seen the NSW government put up the white flag on fruit fly outbreaks in quarantine areas, and now we hear the Victorian government is reducing its eradication efforts due to a lack of funding,” Mr Whetstone said.

“This substantially increases the risk to the Riverland and South Australia. Minister Gago must make an iron-clad commitment to food producers in the Riverland that her government won’t allow this to happen here should the region experience a series of outbreaks like those which occurred in NSW and Victoria in 2010-11.

“The Riverland’s fruit fly free status has suddenly become a great deal more valuable and must be maintained at all costs.

“In addition to maintaining the permanent quarantine station at Yamba 24 hours a day, Labor must ramp up community awareness efforts and increase random roadblocks.

“The Government must also investigate long-term strategies like large-scale sterile insect programs and the possibility of a permanent quarantine station at Blanchetown.
“Above all, if Labor is serious about its commitment that South Australia’s food industry will contribute $20 billion to the State’s economy by 2020, it has to re-invest in primary industries and biosecurity funding, and cease its efforts to recover these costs from struggling farmers. Effective biosecurity benefits every South Australian, not just farmers.”

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