Fruit Fly 2020

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (14:41): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Can the minister update the house on how the Marshall Liberal government is creating more jobs and investing in key programs to protect our primary industries from fruit fly?

The Hon. T.J. WHETSTONE (Chaffey—Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development) (14:41): I thank the member for Hammond for his very important question. He, too, knows the importance of not only the primary industries sector here in South Australia but particularly horticulture and the importance that it presents to our economy and our bottom line. It is great to see that we have had a 2 per cent increase in the value of our primary industries and agribusiness, up to $15.9 billion to the gross state product. That 2 per cent increase is also supported, employing over 115,000 South Australians, as well as the key contributor within horticulture.

As I have just said to the member for Florey, horticulture represents about $1.25 billion and is one of our primary export sectors. It is critically important that we continue to support them and, in measures of biosecurity, to remain globally competitive and assure our customers that we are doing everything we can so that they are receiving pest-free products, food that is safe, and making sure that our customers are given that guarantee that South Australia is a fruit fly free state.

What I can say is that we are continuing to invest. Coming into government, we have continued to put quarantine bins on our arterial roads, entry points into the Riverland of South Australia and more random roadblocks. We continue to see a decline in the amount of fruit that is being collected at the random roadblocks. I think that's a great sign. We have appointed a Riverland fruit fly coordinator and installed new signage.

We have introduced the zero tolerance approach at the random roadblocks as well as the Yamba border quarantine station. To do that, we have employed and trained an additional 14 staff. What that means is that not only are we giving them the opportunity to be qualified biosecurity officers but it's protecting a vitally important industry into South Australia. It's not just the horticulture that we are protecting: we are also protecting one of the nation's great industries, and that's the wine sector, from phylloxera, which is one of the world's scourges with root disease, particularly in vineyards. Being phylloxera free is a badge of honour, and that's what this government continues to underpin.

It's also important to note that we have invested an extra $2 million at the Yamba roadblock to increase safety and the run-off areas for motorists so that, if they are questioned, other motorists can travel past safely. There is also the $500 million that has been further invested into the second irradiator at Port Augusta with the SITPlus program up there. The SITPlus program is world class. That program has been rolled out, breeding sterile flies up at Port Augusta. It is now being used here in South Australia, combating Queensland fruit fly outbreaks, as it has been rolling out in New South Wales and in Victoria, so it is very, very important.

It also should be noted that those on-the-spot fines are being enforced. It has always been a part of the rules and regulations, but now the zero tolerance approach is about enforcing. I might also note that we have also seen Mediterranean fruit fly outbreaks in the member for Enfield's electorate. Sadly, we have biosecurity officers on the ground, doorknocking, making sure that we eradicate that Mediterranean fruit fly as soon as possible.

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