Fruit Growers Tasmania has welcomed news from Guy Barnett, Minister for Primary Industries and Water, that Tasmania’s fruit fly free status has been upheld.
“The maintenance of Tasmania’s Pest Free Area status is of the utmost importance to our agricultural sector” said Fruit Growers Tasmania CEO Peter Cornish.
“As we begin our apple exports for the year during a very difficult trading environment, it has never been more important to confirm Tasmania’s Pest Free Area status. This underpins the high quality of Tasmania’s fruit.”
Biosecurity Tasmania staff completed nine weeks of intensive surveillance, deploying additional traps in the community and inspecting fruit trees on surrounding properties after a single male fruit fly was detected in East Launceston in February. No further fruit flies were found.
“The viability and growth of our fruit sector relies on maintaining our biosecurity and Pest Free Area status, and growers, the public and the government have a vital role to play,” said Mr Cornish.
“We appreciate the continuous efforts of Biosecurity Tasmania and the Tasmanian Government and their commitment to maintaining our state’s biosecurity as a core priority of government.”
“Tasmania’s comprehensive biosecurity approach sees Biosecurity Tasmania monitor and manage risks on inbound consignments before they enter the state, after arrival, and then following up in the field.
“The robustness of this system provides great confidence to both our Tasmanian growers and their customers here, interstate and overseas, because it’s a system that works.”
Minister Barnett’s announcement comes as a welcome update for the state’s fruit producers, many of whom continue to harvest fresh berries, apples and pears.
“Tasmania’s agricultural sector has been designated an essential industry during the COVID-19 pandemic, and growers with the tremendous support of the Tasmanian and Federal Governments, continue to operate and harvest our fresh produce for Tasmania, Australia and export overseas,” Mr Cornish said.
“Our Tasmanian growers are all working hard and implementing revised procedures to protect our workers and customers from the effects of COVID-19. We know many other sectors are doing it tough. We will continue to do our best to deliver our fresh produce to local markets and support our local communities and customers.”
“The Tasmanian and Australian Governments have provided outstanding support to agriculture through our essential status, maintaining freight links, extending visas for seasonal workers, supporting accommodation availability for workers and again today through the Tasmanian Government’s four step support for temporary visa holders.”
“Without this vital support Tasmanian agriculture would be very challenged to continue to operate. Our growers very much appreciate the support.”
The agricultural seasonal workforce is fundamental to the viability of the sector and underpins the widespread employment of permanent workers throughout the state.