More funding for the fight against fruit fly

By Rodney Woods

New funding will see the fight against fruit fly continue in the Goulburn and Murray valleys until mid next year.

The funding, announced by Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes, will see the Goulburn-Murray Valley Regional Fruit Fly Project continue to operate in the region until June 30.

GMV Regional Fruit Fly Project co-ordinator Ross Abberfield said the project had put a comprehensive strategy in place in its two-year history.

“The current situation is that Queensland fruit fly is established in the GMV and, if unmanaged, has the potential to cause significant economic harm to the region's horticulture industry," he said.

"The Goulburn Murray Valley is regarded as the ‘fruit bowl of Australia’ and is the largest producer of pears in the Southern Hemisphere, so protecting this positioning is essential to the region’s economy."

The fruit fly project covers more than 16 000 sq km and takes in five local government areas, including Campaspe, Moira, Greater Shepparton and Strathbogie.

Ms Symes last month announced another $2 million in grants, which will provide greater education and support for activities like trap building and distribution; tree pruning, removal and netting; roadside signage; and distribution of information packs.

These grants are part of the Victorian Government's $7.8 million `Managing Fruit Fly in Victoria' regional grants program, which supports a co-ordinated and collaborative approach to fruit fly management across the state.

The work of the Goulburn Murray Valley Fruit Fly Project has also been recognised at state level with the program a semi-finalist in the Prime Super Agricultural Innovation Award, which forms part of the 2019 Victorian Regional Achievement and Community Awards.

The awards encourage, acknowledge and reward the valuable contributions that individuals, communities and businesses make throughout regional and rural Victoria.

Having been selected as a semi-finalist, the project’s nomination will be reviewed today by a judging panel during the final stages of judging, after which the finalists will be selected.