More than 200 motorists have been caught crossing from Victoria carrying more than 300 kilograms of illegal fruit and vegetables into the Riverland over the Christmas and New Year holidays.
From 24 December to 3 January, 230 vehicles were reported by biosecurity officials at the Yamba Quarantine Station, with 326 kilograms of fruit seized.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said these breaches were bitterly disappointing given current fruit fly eradication efforts across the state.
“South Australians have worked incredibly hard over the past two years to help eradicate fruit fly outbreaks across the state so to have this sort of blatant disregard of the rules is very frustrating,” Minister Basham said.
“We take a zero-tolerance approach to people bringing prohibited fruit into South Australia from interstate as well as into the Riverland pest free area and those caught doing the wrong thing will be fined.
“To have more than 200 motorists caught bringing fruit and vegetables through the Yamba quarantine station over the holidays is very disappointing and these drivers will be lighter in the wallet because of it.
“In very pleasing news to South Australia’s horticulture industry Mediterranean fruit fly outbreaks in metropolitan Adelaide and Port Augusta, and three Queensland fruit fly outbreaks in the Riverland were successfully eradicated last month.
“This means growers in these areas can once again have that market advantage of being fruit fly free and there are reduced restrictions on the movement of fruit and vegetables and lower costs of preparing the fruit for market.
“This has only been possible through the hard work of our farmers and biosecurity staff on the ground, as well as the cooperation from local residents and businesses and I thank them for their support.
“Fruit fly outbreaks threaten our $1.3 billion at-risk horticulture industry and the thousands of businesses and local jobs the sector supports which is why the Marshall Liberal Government is continuing to throw every available resource at remaining fruit fly outbreaks.
“This includes 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.
“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 by continuing 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 suspicious.”