The Hodgman Liberal Government is working closely with fruit growers and the community to destroy the fruit flies detected at Spreyton and on Flinders Island, and to maintain domestic and international market access for our fruit.
We have worked with fruit growers to institute a range of measures to prevent any potential spread of fruit fly out of the north west control zone to other parts of Tasmania.
This has come at a cost to growers in the control zone who have to meet strict protocols to be able to sell their product.
Accordingly a $2 million support package is being made available immediately to affected growers, distributors and retailers of fruit including:
· financial assistance for those in the control zone suffering significant financial hardship resulting from implementation of fruit fly prevention measures;
· assistance with the costs associated with meeting fruit treatment requirements;
· industry assistance to help source new mainland markets for producers within the control zone;
· assistance package to help with changes that may be required for packaging;
· assistance with fruit clean up and disposal; and
· reimbursing costs incurred by industry groups assisting with the response.
On Thursday the Commonwealth Government strongly recommended further tightening of the requirements for the movement of host fruit produced in the fruit fly Control Area in north-west Tasmania.
Maintaining confidence in national and international markets is vital for Tasmania.
We must protect Tasmania’s Pest Free Area (PFA) status which provides valuable market access into Asian markets. These export protocols are negotiated by the Commonwealth Government.
If our PFA status was suspended it could take 12 months or longer to renegotiate after the last fly was destroyed which means next seasons entire cherry crop, potentially other fruits, and the livelihoods and jobs in Tasmania’s wider fruit industries, could be at risk.
For the sake of our wider fruit industry, we simply cannot risk it.
Accordingly, as of today DPIPWE is enacting stricter controls on the movement of fruit from the control zone to other parts of Tasmania.
This means mandatory treatment for fruit and host material leaving the control zone, either cold sterilisation protocol treatment or fumigation, which is to the same standard Tasmania requires for fruit being imported into our state.
Fruit produced from within the control zone, or moved through the control zone can still be moved to other states under permit.
The Hodgman Liberal Government remains in lock-step with Fruit Growers Tasmania and I thank them again for their leadership and support.
I note that this summer both Western Australia and South Australia are similarly responding to fruit fly detections in their fruit fly free zones and we are pleased to be sharing our expertise between states.
As we are in caretaker I have consulted Dr Shane Broad, Labor Spokesperson for Primary Industries, on the support package.