Labor is failing to protect South Australian farms from fruit fly, with new Queensland fruit fly outbreaks being declared in the Riverland.
Leader of The Nationals and Shadow Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud said the former Coalition Government committed $30 million over three years to build national resilience to manage fruit fly, on top of $16.9 million committed in 2018.
But since then, Labor has been slow to act on essential upgrades to state-managed roadblocks and quarantine stations to stop the spread of fruit fly, as well as consolidation and expansion of sterile insect technology capability and critical post-harvest treatment.
“It is of great concern to see the lack of progress, particularly at a time when the number of Queensland fruit fly outbreaks in South Australia’s Riverland has increased substantially,” Mr Littleproud said.
“From the $30 million commitment, I understand Labor has spent very little and of that, only for a scoping study.”
Australia produces around $6.5 billion worth of crops susceptible to fruit fly.
Riverland citrus currently has a pest-free status, allowing it to be exported to premium markets such as the United States, Thailand, Japan and New Zealand.
Member for Barker Tony Pasin said these markets would be at risk if South Australia lost its pest-free status.
“It is imperative to get this funding out and these important biosecurity measures implemented, including upgrading the Queensland fruit fly sterile insect technique capability in Port Augusta, which was to be funded as part of the $20 million promised to South Australia under the national initiative,” Mr Pasin said.
“Labor needs to get on with implementing the $30 million national fruit fly initiative and support South Australia in their efforts to eradicate Queensland fruit fly from the Riverland. We owe it to our farmers to eradicate fruit fly outbreaks and allow them to continue producing the best fruit in the world.”
Media Contact: Charlotte Edmunds 8724 7730