Fruit Fly Protection

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (15:32): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Can the minister inform the house of how the state government is putting in place new measures to protect South Australia from fruit fly?

The Hon. T.J. WHETSTONE: We have seen over a number of years the benefits of having a horticulture industry being fruit fly free. Of recent times, we have also seen the benefits of having area freedom, particular within our export markets, and we now understand exactly what that means to our economy. The horticulture industry is worth approximately $1.2 billion to the state's economy, but to protect it and keep it fruit fly free has been a monumental task for both government and industry.

What I can say today is that this government is actually taking it seriously and putting extra measures in place so that we can actually address the growing pressures on our borders.

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: The member for Elizabeth, the member for Giles!

The Hon. T.J. WHETSTONE: Those on the other side might think it's a joke, but I can assure you it is not a joke.

Mr Malinauskas interjecting:

The SPEAKER: The minister will be seated for one moment. I would really not enjoy removing the Leader of the Opposition for half an hour before grievances. If he continues to interject, I will. Minister.

The Hon. T.J. WHETSTONE: Some of the measures that this responsible state government is putting in place are that we have now appointed a liaison officer both in partnership with industry and government, and he will be out there on the ground making sure that bins that are coming from interstate into South Australia are clean and they are fruit fly free. We are also putting in extra roadblocks, increasing them to 14. We are going to open the Pinnaroo quarantine station earlier this year, 1½ months early. What we are also going to do is put in the extra measures, as promised in an election commitment, the extra quarantine bins installed on the Wentworth road and on the Mannum road.

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. T.J. WHETSTONE: That's why the member for Hammond is so interested, because he cares about the horticulture industry, unlike the others opposite. We are also in the process of installing—

Members interjecting:

The SPEAKER: Order!

The Hon. T.J. WHETSTONE: —extra signage and making sure that all the arterial roads into the Riverland are better signed. Also, for the first time in South Australia a sterile insect technology release and male annihilation technique baiting in interstate buffer zones will be introduced.

Members interjecting:

The Hon. T.J. WHETSTONE: This is a good lesson for you, to listen instead of talking.

The SPEAKER: I'm listening.

The Hon. T.J. WHETSTONE: What I would say is that this government will continue to check the 7,500 trap sites across the state; that's over 100,00 checks per annum. Through these extra measures, we are being proactive. We are being proactive to look after a $1.2 billion industry here in South Australia to keep our state fruit fly free, to make sure that hashtag #RegionsMatter.

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