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No new fruit fly detections since mid-February

Industry support package welcomed

An announcement by the Australian Federal Government of $A100K support package for developing biosecurity information and education packages was strongly welcomed by Fruit Growers Tasmania.

The announcement comes as Biosecurity Tasmania indicates there haven't been any new fruit fly detections on the Tasmanian mainland since mid-February.

Fruit Growers Tasmania President, Nic Hansen, said the recent fruit fly incursion has indicated there is a need to engage the Tasmanian community on our biosecurity.

"We were fortunate two members of the public reported the presence of fruit fly larvae both in Flinders Islands and at Spreyton," Mr Hansen said.

"However, the next step is ensuring both producers and the community are more closely engaged in the biosecurity space. This package will allow us to work with Biosecurity Tasmania to develop industry and community based messaging. "

Nic said there were ongoing challenges with pests and diseases of concern for export markets such as Queensland fruit fly, codling moth, red fire ants, spotted wing drosophila, tomato potato psyllid and now the brown mamorated stink-bug which was detected recently in Sydney and Perth.

Developed products will cover social media tools, including pest and disease apps, web-based material, general community information, ongoing grower workshops and industry presence at key events.

Queensland fruit fly larvae - image courtesy of Biosecurity Tasmania

Mr Hansen acknowledged the work of independent senator Steve Martin in securing this package with support of Liberal Senator Jonathan Duniam. 

"Senator Martin has been closely involved with our North-West growers in his former role as Devonport Mayor since the first detections of fruit fly."

Federal Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littlejohn, said 
the grant would add to the state's suite of measures against Queensland fruit fly outbreaks.

"I commend growers and the Tasmanian Government for their efforts on this issue," Minister Littleproud said.

"Local knowledge is king. This grant recognises this as it helps protect local jobs and exports.

"We want to help farmers to ramp up their on-farm biosecurity measures, strengthen understanding of export requirements and maintain Tasmania's pest free status to support exports and jobs.

"The grant is on top of the $9 million in funding announced by the Coalition Government last year for a plant pest surveillance network and projects to demonstrate area freedom and boost market access."

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