Tasmania's Minister for Primary Industry, Jeremy Rockliff, has declared war on Queensland fruit fly (Fly) stating "we are going to destroy these little buggers" in a media conference today.
Announcing a $2M AUD rescue package for the State's fruit and vegetable industries, Minister Rockliff said the aim was to rid the state of Qfly in order to maintain domestic and international market access.(From Left) Dr Shane Broad (Shadow Minister for Primary Industries), Jeremy Rockliff (Minister for Primary Industries) and Nic Hansen (President Fruit Growers Tas) at today's media conference.
"We have worked with fruit growers to institute a range of measures to prevent any potential spread of fruit fly out of the north west control zone to other parts of Australia," he said.
"This has come at a cost to growers in the control zone who have to meet strict protocols to be able to sell their product."
The $2m AUD package is being made available immediately to affected growers, distributors and retailers including:
- Financial assistance for those in the control zone suffering financial hardship resulting from the implementation of fruit fly prevention measures;
- Assistance with costs required with meeting fruit treatment requirements;
- Industry assistance to source new mainland markets for producers within the control zone;
- Assistance package to help with changes that may be required for packaging; and
- Assistance with fruit clean up and disposal.
Fruit Growers Tasmania President, Nic Hansen, welcomed the package especially as the increased protocols within the control area imposed by the Australian Government had come as a shock to many growers.
"Many growers remain inside (the State Government offices) talking with each other and the major retailers who have come today," Nic said.
"We will get through this - all the growers know that and Fruit Growers Tasmania stands behind them."
"Growers are very resilient and at every turn they will try and find alternative markets for their produce."
The Government's announcement was given bi-partisan support with Opposition spokesperson for Primary Industries, Dr Shane Broad, also attending the workshop and media conference.