Zero tolerance success as fruit flies stopped at SA border

Five pieces of larvae-infested fruit were successfully seized and stopped from entering the Riverland by Biosecurity SA inspectors in the first four months of the Marshall Liberal Government’s zero tolerance policy.

The larvae were discovered on five separate occasions by inspectors at the Yamba Quarantine Station who check every car entering South Australia on the Sturt Highway. Fruit fly larvae were uncovered in a peach, cherry tomato, figs and dragon fruit.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the seizure of infested fresh produce highlights the importance of zero tolerance and the fact it is working.

“I commend the hard-working biosecurity staff at Yamba whose sharp eyes have stopped these illegal and infested fruits from making their way into the Riverland,” said Minister Whetstone.

“It only takes one piece of infested produce to cause widespread devastation to the Riverland horticulture industry and its communities.

“All vehicles entering Yamba are stopped, inspected and any fruit is seized and investigated and disposed. In the rare occasions larvae are found, they are destroyed on site.

“To date more than 10,000 kilograms of illegal fruit and vegetables has been seized at Yamba under zero tolerance. Keeping South Australia fruit fly free is everyone’s responsibility and there is a clear and simple message for people travelling into South Australia – leave your fruit and vegetables at home.

“There are ample warnings leading into the Yamba Quarantine Station reminding motorists to dispose of any fruit fly host material. Drivers choosing to ignore these warnings will be fined.”

Minister Whetstone said unfortunately fruit fly is not the only biosecurity risk facing the Riverland, with Labor MPs seeking to water down the tough zero tolerance border security.

“Recently I had a city-based Labor MP write me a letter in which they described bringing illegal fruit into South Australia is a ‘trifling’ matter,” said Minister Whetstone.

“The MP claimed a motorist from their electorate detected bringing five tomatoes, three mandarins, a lemon, pear and avocado into the state should be let off without fine because ‘the nature’ of the offence was ‘trifling’.

“Tell that to the state’s fruit growers in a $1.2 billion industry who rely on our fruit fly pest-free status to market their quality produce.

“It is time the Labor Party gave up its opposition to the zero-tolerance policy and stopped undermining our government’s efforts to strengthen agricultural biosecurity.

“I am happy to brief this city-based MP on the impact and risk our global horticulture industry by bringing fruit into SA.

“Zero tolerance is achieving results. The Marshall Liberal Government’s zero tolerance policy has strengthened our borders and stopping infected produce from entering the Riverland shows this approach is working.”

feature mediarelease