Fight to stop fruit intruders heats up

Random fruit fly checks in play for Australia Day weekend


Horticulture
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Random roadblocks will be set-up this long weekend to stop the illegal transport of fruit and vegetables into SA.

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MOTORISTS should take note that there could be a number of random roadblocks set-up this Australia Day long weekend, to stop the illegal transport of fruit and vegetables into South Australia, more particularly the Riverland.

Since the state government’s zero tolerance approach was introduced in mid-December, more than 400 expiation notices have been issued.

Primary Industries Minister Tim Whetstone said the government’s hard-line stance was taking effect, with the amount of fines issued reducing significantly.

“Initially about 12 per cent of the cars inspected were found to be carrying fruit. That figure has dropped to about 8pc,” he said. 

Last Sunday, a random roadblock was put in at Blanchetown, where minimal fines were given out.

This compares to the random roadblock in Bordertown late last month, where more than 230 drivers entering SA were fined.

Mr Whetstone said the government was doing everything within its power to support the state’s $1.2 billion horticulture industry, including training 16 more staff to help at quarantine stations such as Yamba on the SA/Vic border.

“Qld fruit fly is the bane of grower existences,” he said.

“Having experienced this personally, I understand the pressure it puts on growers and the Riverland’s reputation.

“There are huge trade opportunities available to our growers so we need to make sure we are there to take advantage of them, and that’s by making sure we do everything we can to remain fruit fly-free.”

An outbreak of Q-fly was detected in Loxton in early December.

Last week, biosecurity officers found larvae at a property in close proximity to the initial incursion.

This means the quarantine and suspension area will remain in place until at least April 9.

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