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Goulburn Murray Valley - Australia

Lack of Queensland Fruit Fly project funding is troubling

The amount of resources to be spent on the national fight against Queensland Fruit Fly (Q-fly) remains uncertain as it awaits confirmation of state government support.

The GMV Regional Fruit Fly Project has made considerable efforts to reduce fruit fly numbers in recent years, however the Victorian Government is yet to advise whether the project will be funded after June 2020. According to the group, industry insiders have warned Q-fly numbers will increase by between 60-70 per cent in the Goulburn Murray Valley (GMV) if continued prevention and management measures aren't funded beyond June this year.

GMV Fruit Fly Project Governance Group chair and Cobram and District Fruit Growers Association, president, Tony Siciliano, said it was inevitable fruit fly numbers in the GMV would increase to where they were prior to the project's commencement, if the project was to cease.

"Despite the many economic challenges facing the government it's imperative and a matter of common sense that we continue to protect our horticultural industry by maintaining our focus on reducing the spread of fruit fly," Mr Siciliano said.

The group reported that the project has reduced fruit fly numbers by more than 73% in Cobram and 60% in Greater Shepparton, Campaspe and Strathbogie Shires.

A Victorian Government spokesperson said the department understood the importance of shared responsibility in managing the pest. "Why we developed the action plan five years ago," the spokesperson told"The Goulburn Murray Valley Group and the Moira Shire have done an exceptional job implementing their Regional Action Plan with the award-winning 'No Flies On Us' program."

"Regional Action Plans are funded through Agriculture Victoria's Fruit Fly Grants Program, which the government has invested $7.8 million in over the past three years," the spokesperson said. "The Goulburn Murray Valley region was provided $684,000 in regional grants in 2019, with almost $600,000 funding to Moira Shire to implement its 2019-20 Regional Action Plans. An additional $200,000 in funding was also provided to support a Regional Coordinator to facilitate implementation of the Regional Action Plan."


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