Fruit Fly Questions

The Hon. J.S. LEE (15:08): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries a question relating to fruit fly

The Hon. J.S. LEE (15:08): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries a question relating to fruit fly.

Leave granted.

The Hon. J.S. LEE: Maintaining South Australia's fruit fly free status helps protect our $675 million fresh fruit and vegetable growing industry as well as being vital to exporting produce. I guess that is why we keep asking all these important questions. The state government continues to claim that there will be a 50 per cent increase in planned random roadblocks in the coming fruit fly season. My questions are:

1.Can the minister advise how many random roadblocks were held in 2012-13 and how many are planned in 2013-14?

2.Following meetings with the key industry stakeholders, have any changes been made to the budgeted extra $1 million which is proposed as a dollar-for-dollar scheme?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO (Minister for Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Minister for Forests, Minister for Regional Development, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for State/Local Government Relations) (15:09): I thank the honourable member for her most important question. Indeed, this government does take our fruit fly free status very seriously and that is why we have committed the resources that we have to ensuring that those protections remain in place and that we remain fruit fly free.

I have spoken in this place before about a wide range of initiatives that we undertake. There is a suite of mitigation strategies in place to manage fruit fly risk and these include things like early detection, the trapping grids which we have already talked about here today, and the legal requirement for all commercial plant importers to be registered and to comply with import quarantine requirements.

Biosecurity SA undertakes audits of these arrangements to verify that consignments comply with South Australia's strict quarantine restrictions. Additionally, Biosecurity SA maintains quarantine stations, random roadblocks, sign packages and disposal bins at border entry points and also a comprehensive community awareness program, each aimed at reducing the risk of fruit fly.

I have been informed that eight random roadblocks were put in place last financial year and there are 12 planned for this year, which is a 50 per cent increase. In 2012-13, Biosecurity SA also increased the random roadblocks, as I said, and a number of measures will be undertaken to ensure that South Australia remains fruit fly free. Additional resources include the opening of the Pinnaroo quarantine station one month ahead of schedule and also the additional roadblocks.

Work continues in regard to managing eradication. Wherever there is an outbreak, there is a very stringent protocol around that and we make sure that that stays in place. As I said, we continue with our considerable efforts. Additional funds were made available in our last budget, which made an additional $1 million available over four years for fruit fly initiatives. This scheme requires the coinvestment of the industry, and I have already reported in this place discussions that I have had with industry groups around the sorts of activities that they might undertake as a means of coinvestment.

I am not too sure whether I have understood the third question of the Hon. Jing Lee. I think she asked whether there was money additional to the $1 million. The $1 million was a budgetary requirement and we have incurred the additional expenses in relation to the increasing roadblocks, early opening and suchlike, so they did incur some additional expenses.

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