Senate inquiry to hold public hearing in Loxton

Loxton will host a public hearing of the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee as it investigates fruit fly management in South Australia.

Senator for South Australia Anne Ruston said the public hearing, to be held on 16 April, was for the committee’s inquiry into the implications of the use of fenthion on Australia’s horticultural industry.

“While we don’t use fenthion-based chemicals to manage fruit fly in South Australia, the committee is keen to investigate alternative methods,” Senator Ruston said.

“South Australia’s system of area wide management and early detection, the use of sterile insect technique, and how the state responds to fruit fly outbreaks like those currently affecting the Loxton area will be of great interest to the committee.

“With the large number of outbreaks of 2010-11 in New South Wales and Victoria, the terrible 2012-13 season in Western Australia, and now outbreaks in the Riverland and Adelaide, the nation’s fruit fly situation is worse than ever before.

“There are now increasing calls from affected horticultural industries for a national approach to managing fruit fly. There has been a National Fruit Fly Strategy in place since 2008 – and an implementation plan since 2010 – but it’s quite clear this has effectively done nothing to prevent fruit fly from spreading across fruit growing areas in three states that were previously quarantined from the pest.

“It’s past time for the strategy to be updated, with all of its recommendations implemented, and for all affected industries to work together to eradicate this pest so that we can better access lucrative export markets for Australian horticultural produce and eliminate the enormous costs associated with managing fruit fly.”

The committee will also hold a public inquiry in Murray Bridge on 15 April for its inquiry into the future of beekeeping and pollination services industries in Australia.

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