Australia’s premier fruit growing region is one step closer to again being fruit fly free with the successful eradication of three Queensland fruit fly outbreaks, following a 12-month response program.

Detections of wild flies at Pike River mean fruit movement restrictions in two other outbreak areas around Renmark West and Pike River are continuing until 13 March 2022.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said the Riverland community’s support has played an important part in identifying and getting rid of fruit fly.

“Thank you to all residents, primary producers and businesses in the affected areas for their support for our thorough eradication program,” Minister Basham said.

“We have successfully eradicated three of the outbreak areas in the Riverland which means many growers will once again be able to have that market advantage of being fruit fly free.

“This eradication effort follows other recent successful operations to eradicate Mediterranean fruit fly outbreaks across metropolitan Adelaide and Port Augusta and the Marshall Liberal Government will continue to use every available resource to eliminate the remaining two Riverland outbreak areas including targeting the latest detection site to ensure every last Q-fly is removed.

“The Riverland fruit fly eradication program has involved a combination of fruit and vegetable movement restrictions to stop fruit fly spreading, organic baiting, collecting fallen fruit, checking fruit for signs of fruit fly and releasing sterile flies to break the life cycle.

“The fruit fly outbreaks across South Australia have been threatening the state’s $1.3 billion at-risk horticultural industry, representing 37,500 local jobs, 4,000 businesses and thousands of livelihoods.

“We know fruit fly is most active in summer and we ask everyone to remain vigilant to ensure we keep South Australia fruit fly free.

“Please continue to pick fruit once ripe, collect fallen fruit, check fruit for maggots and call the Fruit Fly Hotline on 1300 666 010 if you see anything wriggling in your fruit.

“Travellers and residents are reminded the separate restrictions on bringing fruit and vegetables into the Riverland PFA are ongoing and permanent and are not related to any of the fruit fly outbreaks.

“We have a zero-tolerance policy to people bringing prohibited fruit into the Riverland pest free area. Heavy fines will apply if caught smuggling fruit into the region.

“Residents and travellers coming into the Riverland are encouraged to shop locally and support local businesses. We all need to play our part to protect South Australia from fruit fly.

”Chair of the Riverland Fruit Fly Committee Jason Size said the eradication of these three outbreaks was testament to the hard work of the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) and the local community.

“This fruit fly eradication has been a huge effort, in particular from the Biosecurity staff on the ground, and PIRSA’s work in the Riverland with growers and residents has been untiring,” Mr Size said.

“We’re yet to fully understand the full economic impact these outbreaks have had, for example market access issues with trading partners are yet to be fully resolved, as well as the effects of the recent spring storms.

“We will continue to work with PIRSA on fruit fly preparedness and prevention, with a deeper understanding than ever before of the impact outbreaks can have and what’s required to prevent and eradicate them.

“Even though three of the outbreaks have been lifted, there are still two areas remaining which means everybody must continue their efforts to ensure our region is clean and free of fruit fly.

”Domestic trade has now been re-established under area freedom arrangements for those areas that have been reinstated and the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) is working with the Commonwealth Government and aims to have export arrangements back in place soon.