Government gets the fruit fly ball rolling

The Australian Government has started the ball rolling on a national approach to fruit fly, committing $80,000 in new funding for the coordination of the National Fruit Fly Strategy (NFFS).

Senator for South Australia Anne Ruston welcomed the announcement and said she was looking forward to seeing the strategy rolled out.

"This is just the beginning," Senator Ruston said. "This funding commitment will enhance national policy and regulatory oversight of all domestic fruit fly issues, identify efficiencies and better target research and development efforts.

"The aim of the NFFS is to reduce the impact of fruit fly, reduce the costs to horticultural supply chains and ultimately improve returns at the farm gate. Australia's ability to access sensitive export markets for horticultural produce will be significantly enhanced.

"I've met with Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce to emphasise the importance of a national fruit fly strategy. The Minister is very committed to addressing the issue and I welcome this funding to get the ball rolling after years of inaction under the former Labor government."

Senator Ruston said the success of the strategy would rely strongly on participation by affected industries and, just as importantly, key regional areas.

"Fruit growing regions – and fruit industries – across Australia have fruit fly issues which are unique to them," she said. "A successful national approach does not mean a blanket, one-size-fits-all approach.

"Plant Health Australia, the agency charged with coordination of the strategy, will need to actively engage regional and industry stakeholders in tangible, grass roots, on-the-ground efforts and initiatives if the NFFS is to be successfully implemented."

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