Fruit Fly Quarantine Station

Tim Whetstone, Primary Industries Minister 




Fruit Fly Quarantine Station

(Denny:  Tim Whetstone, good morning to you.)

Good morning Spence. 

(Denny:  So regulations changed on January 1st, something I was acutely unaware of … we wanted to do this because I don't want other people to fall into this because I came away feeling like a criminal, in all sincerity.  Is this too draconian or is this just the way it’s going to be.)

Yeah well Spence, the emergency rules came in on the 4th of January of this year and it was in response to a fruit fly outbreak in Loxton and I guess what we’re looking to do is … I enforced the measures that were already there in place.  … as of the 4th of January, those rules, those laws are now being enforced and that means that if you do bring fruit or vegetables into South Australia you will be fined and as you said that on the spot fine is there as a deterrent and making sure that people understand that you can't being fruit and vegetables across the border and threaten the horticulture industry. 

(Denny:  Of course, everyone understand that’s.  But there are exemptions, there are certain fresh fruit and vegetable produce that is allowed.  And how do you determine if that’s the case if you can’t ask at the quarantine station.)

Well I think the message is, don't bring fruit or vegetables in. 

(Denny:  Minister, there are exemptions.)

Okay well I guess those exemptions would fall on hard, green fruit that would be deemed impenetrable. 

(Denny:  Well isn’t that an avocado. Hasn’t an avocado got a hard, green skin on it and this is hard, dark avocado.) 

No.  No. 

(Denny:  But how do you know that, as somebody coming in for the first time who’s unaware that these restrictions are so tight, how do you know that before asking the question.)

I guess the signs are pretty self-evident when you are coming closer to the Yamba quarantine station, they say no fruit or vegetables are to be brought into South Australia … if you are unsure, google, it.  I’m sorry but they are the rules, we have to abide by the rules. 

(Denny:  Hang on, hang on, you are on the highway between Mildura and Renmark where there is dubious mobile coverage and you are going to google can I bring an avocado into South Australia, really?   Really?  And so a grey nomad who has got a caravan in tow and they are think I wonder if I can bring this broccoli into South Australia, they are going to google that?)

Well if they are going to run the gauntlet, that’s what they need to do.  That's the next best option. 

(Denny: Nobody is running the gauntlet, this was information that was freely provided to the officer at the station, he said, I smiled, he said do you have anything, I said yes I do, I’ve deposited all my fruit but I was unsure if an avocado was an exemption.) 

Yes and that’s the reason that we had an outbreak because some fruit has crossed the border and its infected citrus at Loxton and that was the reason that we now enforce the law at Yamba and Spence, you know, you obviously did the right thing by buying fresh fruit and vegetables to eat but you did the wrong thing by bringing it into South Australia and we are looking after a $1.2b horticulture industry. 

(Denny:  Mon with respect, I completely understand that.  But I mean for somebody coming into South Australia, I mean seriously this was like entering a Soviet country.  I drove away from there feeling like a total criminal when all I wanted to do was the right thing.)

 Yes I understand.  But they are the rules that we have now enforced. 

(Denny:  Okay but if you are unaware of those rules, that makes it difficult doesn’t it.) 

Yes it does but you know the signs are there, there’s adequate signage there, we’ve invested a lot of money to give people forewarning about not bring any fruit or veg into South Australia and they are the rules, that’s the law and people have to abide by the law and I’m sorry but that’s how it is and you know, as the local member up here and …

(Denny:  Tim Whetstone, we must leave it there and I know you are very passionate about it, but thank you.)

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