Will Hodgman

Premier of Tasmania

14 September 2018

Sarah Courtney, Minister for Primary Industries and Water

Restriction changes to help growers in fruit fly control zones

The Hodgman Liberal Government remains committed to eradicating fruit fly from Tasmania and is continuing to support growers as we move towards the reinstatement of Tasmania’s pest free area (PFA) status in time for the summer harvest period.

In a major step forward that will provide relief for many growers, Biosecurity Tasmania has advised that restrictions will be lifted to enable growers to sell their produce within the control zones.

From 1 October untreated fruit will be allowed to be moved and sold within the 15km control zones, but existing control measures must stay in place for those properties within the tighter 1.5km infected areas where fruit fly was found last summer.

This decision reflects the comprehensive biosecurity response undertaken to date, plus ongoing negotiations with growers and industry. The Federal Government has also agreed that these changes are appropriate.

We remain confident that control zone restrictions will be lifted on 9 January and until then the community is reminded that movement of fruit from inside to outside the control area is still not allowed, unless fruit is appropriately treated and packed under required protocols.

Having worked closely with growers and their representatives the targeted support to the fruit industry until the PFA reinstatement date includes:

  • A Transitional Assistance Program (TAP) for growers within infected areas and control zones including treatment costs and hire of treatment equipment, labour costs, transport costs and packing or repackaging costs.
  • Reasonable biosecurity and farm hygiene costs will also be covered for commercial growers within the control zones to reduce the biosecurity risk from any unpicked fruit. The government continues to pay for the disposal of fruit.
  • A new $4 million Fruit Fly Concessional Loan Scheme facility will be offered to provide support to affected businesses for operating costs necessary to restart or redevelop their operations, as well as provide short term working capital for the immediate season.
  • As an additional safety net, eligible growers in difficulty can access a ‘break even’ payment under certain circumstances to assist them to continue to trade and maintain their place in the market.

Our clear intent is to protect Tasmania’s PFA status which is so vital for our entire fruit industry, and at the same time, we are supporting affected growers in control areas to make sound business decisions, whilst assisting those in particular need.

$500,000 has also been provided to Fruit Growers Tasmania to implement their grower biosecurity program.

The Hodgman Liberal Government is continuing to work with industry to ensure our biosecurity systems remains well placed to respond to any potential future pest incursions and we thank industry and the general public for their support and vigilance.

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