AU: Council to drive national fruit fly management

A new council has been formed to work with growers and fruit fly management community groups across all states and territories to control fruit fly on a national scale. The announcement was made jointly by Plant Health Australia (PHA), the national coordinators of the industry-government plant biosecurity partnership in Australia, and Horticulture Innovation Australia (Hort Innovation), one of the major funding contributors.

The Board of Hort Innovation approved funding for the three year commitment, supplementing funds contributed by the Australian Government and state and territory governments, which has allowed the joint industry-government council to go ahead.

The new funding secured from Hort Innovation and state and territory governments will enable a full time national manager of fruit flies to be appointed to drive the Council’s agenda. This role will have strong links to the two new national positions established by Hort Innovation, the SITplus Program Director and the Qfly Area-Wide Management Coordinator. These three national resources will coordinate activities to ensure messages are delivered to all stakeholder groups.

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce congratulated PHA and Hort Innovation for taking a leading role in coordinating the Council.

“This is a very welcome announcement—management of fruit fly in Australia is a big challenge and it needs a national approach,” Minister Joyce said.

“We know that trade underpins farmgate returns for Australian producers, and we’re committed to boosting profits for horticulture producers through the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper. We’re investing $200 million to improve biosecurity surveillance and analysis nationally; $30.8 million to break down technical barriers to trade and appoint five new overseas Agriculture Counsellors; and $12.4 million to modernise Australia's food export traceability systems to further enhance our food safety credentials.”

The Council will consider the management of Mediterranean fruit fly and the Qfly. There will also be an emphasis on exotic fruit flies that could, if established, significantly impact the ability of industries to produce marketable fruit.

The four main focus areas for the Council are:
  • Fruit fly management systems – activities for prevention, detection, eradication, and management of fruit flies
  • Market access – activities that will assist in securing entry conditions for horticultural produce into markets
  • Legislation and regulation – ensuring that regulation and legislative controls for managing fruit flies are in harmony both across Australia and with international standards
  • Research and development – ensuring that Australian R&D provides technically justifiable approaches and innovative solutions to meet the requirements of the three areas above.
The National Fruit Fly Council will take over the work of the National Fruit Fly Strategy Advisory Committee which has been driving efforts since May 2014. Mr Fraser said that this committee, comprising industry and government representatives and chaired by and independent chair Mr Jon Durham, had made an impact at a national level by advancing the National Fruit Fly Strategy as an interim step.

Fruit flies damage a wide range of fruit and vegetable crops with the value of fruit fly affected industries being approximately $4.8 billion. The economic benefit of a national approach to controlling the pest was clearly demonstrated in 2012 when the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Science (ABARES) estimated that the benefits to of implementing the National Fruit Fly Strategy would be between $29 and $38 million per year.

For more information:
Cathy Frazer
Tel: +61 0)2 6215 7708

Amy Braddon
Hort Innovation
Tel: +61 (0)2 8295 2333

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