More than 230 drivers entering South Australia through Bordertown last weekend received fines for illegally bringing fruit into the state in a random roadblock operation undertaken by South Australian biosecurity officers.
The random roadblock is part of an increased effort from the State Government to prevent fruit fly from entering into the state.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said every single person entering South Australia must respect strict quarantine laws which prohibit people bringing fruit in and putting the state’s fruit fly free status at risk.
“These laws are in place to protect our $1.25 billion horticultural industry vulnerable to fruit fly and biosecurity officers will be enforcing the law with zero tolerance,” said Minister Whetstone.
“It only takes one fruit infected with larvae to cause devastation, not only for our fresh food industries but also communities. So whether you illegally carry one piece of fruit or 20 in your vehicle into a quarantine area, you will be penalised.
“Some 232 drivers not abiding by the state’s strict quarantine restrictions experienced the sting last weekend at Bordertown and each can now expect to receive a $375 fine in the mail.”
Minister Whetstone said from Friday 4 January 2019, drivers arriving from Mildura can expect the same zero tolerance approach at the Yamba quarantine station after 285 vehicles were found with more than 500 kilograms of fruit last weekend.
“No longer will it be acceptable to avoid penalty by surrendering fruit at the Yamba quarantine station as bringing fruit into South Australia is prohibited,” said Minister Whetstone.
“Today I am taking down old and outdated road signs on the Sturt Highway and we will replace them with signs that make it crystal clear fines will apply if caught illegally with fruit in your vehicle.
“There is a clear and simple message for people travelling into South Australia, do not bring fresh produce otherwise you will pay the penalty.
“Motorists face fines and penalties of up to $100,000 if found with restricted items.
“From roadblocks to quarantine bins, we will use every tool at our disposal to defend our vital horticulture industry against fruit fly. Keeping South Australia free of fruit fly is everyone’s responsibility."
The increased measures follow an outbreak of Q-fly detected in Loxton in early December.
This outbreak has no impact on the fruit fly free status for the rest of the Riverland Pest Free Area or the state.