A call to action has been issued for the entire Riverland community to eradicate waste material that could be a host for fruit fly after an outbreak of Q-fly was detected in Loxton on Thursday.
Meeting with industry representatives in Loxton today, Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development and Member for Chaffey, Tim Whetstone said all Riverland orchards, vineyards, households, veggie gardens, roadsides and riparian zones need to be swept clean of host product.
"The State Government is committed to working with industry to protect South Australia’s horticultural industries from the threat of fruit fly and retain our Pest Free status," said Minister Whetstone.
"Urgent action is needed to defend our $1.2 billion horticultural industry vulnerable to fruit fly and everyone, from farmers, to homeowners, transport operators, councils and governments have vital roles to play.
"Horticulturalists and wine grape growers will need to implement strict on-farm hygiene, including clearing fruit from the hard-to-reach middle of trees and fallen fruit from the ground.
"Homeowners must be vigilant in checking backyard trees and clearing fruit that drops.
"We want to work with councils to ensure roadside vegetation is stripped of pest host product, such as prickly pear and boxthorn.
"All vectors must be addressed in a whole of Riverland effort to deny fruit fly a foothold in the region."
Minister Whetstone said his department would ramp up operations at random roadside fruit inspections and fixed quarantine stations.
"PIRSA inspectors will take a zero tolerance approach to people who try to bring fruit illegally into the Riverland and if found with fruit in their vehicles, they face a fine.
"Recent roadblocks have been finding as many as one in every eight vehicles bringing fruit into the Riverland against the law.
"Drastic action is needed to overturn a culture of non-compliance by far too many members of the public are putting our industry at risk.
"Packhouses and processors must clean their fruit bins or their trucks will be turned around at the border if found with illegal fruit waste."
Mr Whetstone said PIRSA officials are continuing to inspect properties within the Loxton fruit fly outbreak area to clean the region of pests.
A total of 50 personnel have been deployed onto the response with baiting and hygiene operations commencing on the weekend.
A 1.5 kilometre outbreak area and 15 kilometre suspension area have been established around the detection point and quarantine restrictions apply in the Newton Road area.
The 1.5 kilometre outbreak area is bounded by Barker Street to the north and Middleton Road to the East.
This outbreak has no impact on the fruit fly free status for the rest of the Riverland Pest Free Area or the state.
Residents and businesses inside the quarantine area can help eliminate fruit fly by practising a few simple measures, including:
- DO NOT give away or move any fruit or fruiting vegetables, including tomatoes, capsicums, chillies and eggplants unless cooked or preserved
- DO NOT leave fruit or fruiting vegetables lying on the ground
- DO NOT compost any fruit or fruiting vegetables, including those purchased from a shop
- Arrangements will be made for the management of green waste within the Outbreak Area. DO contact PIRSA for more details.
- DO report any maggots found in fruit or fruiting vegetables immediately to the Riverland Fruit Fly Response Hotline on 1800 255 556
- DO cook or preserve excess fruit and fruiting vegetables.
At this stage, if no further wild flies or larvae are detected it is anticipated the quarantine zone in Loxton will remain in place until at least 28 February 2019.
For more information, including detailed maps of outbreak areas, the quarantine zone and Suspension Area are available from www.pir.sa.gov.au/fruitfly