Testing times for fruit fly pest free area
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Authorities are warning that the Sunraysia Pest Free Area (PFA) is facing some testing times despite a successful first assault on the outbreak of Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF) in Mildura.
The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Incident Controller, Daniel Miller, said a quick response following the initial discovery had found no evidence of further flies or larvae.
"However the next ten weeks will be vital for the industry," Mr Miller said.
"Growers, packers and the public all have important roles if the PFA is to be reinstated promptly and the future of this important industry assured.
"The outbreak has been formally gazetted by the government which means there are strict controls in place governing the movement of fruit and fruiting vegetables within 15 kilometres of the initial outbreak."
Mr Miller warned these controls will be vigorously enforced by inspectors who will be monitoring industry, private growers and stallholders and issuing fines if necessary.
"The gazettal covers all businesses within a 15 kilometre radius around the site of the outbreak," Mr Miller said.
"Businesses around the perimeter should review their status promptly to determine whether they lie within or out of the suspension area.
"We are urging any businesses unsure of their current status to contact the Department immediately for further advice on 1800 779 596.
"However there are still responsibilities for everyone in and round the 15 kilometre zone to ensure the outbreak can be curtailed.
"No produce can be taken outside the 15 kilometre circle unless under permit and certified under protocols that may vary depending on the market.
"Uniformed officers are also checking arriving planes and buses to ensure no-one brings produce into the Pest Free Area.
"Public cooperation will be important and we urge visitors to the whole Pest Free Area not to bring produce into the region and not to move produce out of the declared zone."
Chairman of the Australian Table Grape Growers Association, Jeff Scott, said the whole Sunraysia district was depending on everybody to help keep the multi-million dollar horticulture industry viable, along with the jobs it provides to local communities.
Media contact: Alan Everett 0409 255 140