Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed has welcomed a new five year action plan to tackle Queensland fruit fly, announced in the Goulburn Valley today.
A proactive and coordinated approach will be developed to protect domestic and international market access for Victoria’s $2.4 billion horticulture industry.
It comes after the Minister for Agriculture and Ms Sheed met with growers concerned about the recent spread of the pest from urban backyards to nearby orchards.
“I’m pleased the Andrews Labor Government is taking the Queensland fruit fly threat seriously,” Ms Sheed said.
“The Goulburn Valley Industry Taskforce, let by orchardist Peter Hall, is working on a regional strategy but they need government support to implement it.
“I hope this new action plan will be followed up with real investment to combat this insidious pest that threatens not only local growers but the businesses they supply like SPC and the whole regional economy.”
Development of the plan will begin with a state-wide forum in Melbourne in July, which will define the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders involved or impacted by fruit fly management.
“The forum will provide an important opportunity for industry and impacted communities like Shepparton, Mooroopna and Tatura to contribute to the development of the plan,” Ms Sheed said.
The action plan will then provide industry, government and communities with a coordinated approach to fruit fly management up until 2020.
“It’s my expectation that any action plan will involve more departmental staff on the ground to remove host trees and control the pest,” Ms Sheed said.
Around 90 per cent of Australia’s pears and 30 per cent of Australia’s apples are grown in the Goulburn Valley region.
14 May 2015