Moira Shire Council wants fruit fly program funding extended

By Rodney Woods

Moira Shire Council is calling on Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes to continue funding of the Goulburn Murray Valley Regional Fruit Fly Program for the next three years.

Mayor Libro Mustica said Queensland fruit fly was a constant threat to the region’s annual production of hundreds of thousands of tonnes of fruit and vegetables that can act as hosts for the insect.

“This program has achieved a 60 per cent reduction in QFF populations between 2017 to 19,” he said.

“It continues to design innovative approaches to manage QFF with the most recent being undertaking a sterile insect technique trial where sterile male fruit flies were released in the Cobram area.

“The program’s success has been acknowledged recently by receiving the Regional Achiever of the Year Award as well as winning first place in the Prime Super Agricultural Innovation Awards.”

The Victorian Government has already contributed $2.4 million to this program with funding scheduled to finish in June next year.

“Continued effective QFF control via this program helps prevent a major environmental threat to horticulture through education and host tree removal and monitoring,” Cr Mustica said.

“This also helps the environment in limiting chemical control measures.”

In response, a government spokesperson said the government understands the importance of managing the QFF.

“Queensland fruit fly is a threat to our horticulture production and to our community and private gardens – we recognise the importance of shared responsibility in managing this established pest, that is why we developed the action plan five years ago,” the spokesperson said.

Country News understands Agriculture Victoria is considering future fruit fly management arrangements but nothing was confirmed by the spokesperson.