Mr PEDERICK ( Hammond ) ( 11:30 ): I move:
That this house calls on the state government to establish Mypolonga as a fruit fly exclusion zone and commit extra funding to biosecurity measures to protect against fruit fly threats and outbreaks in South Australia.
I rise today to speak on Mypolonga being included in the Riverland fruit fly exclusion zone. In June last year I gave notice to move a private member's motion and called on the state government to include protection for the Mypolonga horticulture area.
The Mypolonga trapping grid was first established in 1991. These traps are positioned on a one-kilometre grid in horticultural production areas, and these are on a 400-metre grid within the township. At present there are 17 sites, each having three traps deployed: one to detect the Queensland fruit fly, another to detect the Mediterranean fruit fly, and the last to detect the exotic fruit fly.
During November to May, these traps are monitored on a weekly basis, and then fortnightly from June through to October. As stated in a previous speech, only one male Queensland fruit fly has been detected, which was on Friday, 26 July 2013. This is not considered an outbreak. An outbreak is only considered when one of the following three scenarios takes place: one gravid female fly is detected, one or more larvae are detected in locally grown fruit, or five male flies are trapped within one kilometre in a two-week period.
After this incident on 26 July, PIRSA (primary industries) warranted that further traps be set up within a 200-metre radius of the detection zone. After this quick implementation of extra traps, no other fruit flies were discovered. PIRSA works with producers to ensure they eliminate any potential of a fruit fly infestation in South Australia.
As part of an industry research and development project previously, the Lower Murray Horticulture Action Committee has been provided with funding from Horticulture Australia Ltd. This grant has helped fund the costs incurred from servicing the traps. It is estimated that the annual servicing cost for these traps ranges from between $15,000 to $20,000 per annum. If the fruit fly trapping grid were to be discontinued, many potential risks would follow. These include:
- Marketing implications for local growers, particularly in accessing,processing and packaging facilities in the Riverland fruit fly exclusion zone;
- Exposure to host produce travelling along main arterial highways passing within 10 kilometres of the Mypolonga growing area;
- Increased tourist activities, including houseboats, river sports, paddle boats and general tourism, which may result in infested produce being brought into the area;
- Prevailing winds potentially carrying fruit fly into the Mypolonga area, losing the protection to the back door of the Riverland;
- Mypolonga's itinerant population, plus approximately 70 students who travel daily from the Murray Bridge area into Mypolonga to attend the local primary school; and
- Some possible implications for accessing export markets.
In relation to accessing export markets, in 2013 when the one male Queensland fruit fly was detected, it had many implications for local growers. It was noted that many growers found difficulty when accessing both local and interstate markets as a result of the detection.
The protection from the trapping grids is vital to keep the continued status of a fruit fly free zone in Mypolonga, and in the past a small group of owners have committed to a voluntary per hectare contribution in an attempt to maintain the grid. This voluntary contribution is not enough to fully fund the upkeep of the traps and, as stated by the former minister for agriculture, food and fisheries, the Hon. Gail Gago in another place, the Mypolonga horticulture industry will receive no funding from the Weatherill Labor government in the fight against fruit fly.
If there were to be a fruit fly infestation in South Australia, it could possibly devastate the $675 million fresh fruit and vegetable industry. At present, the Mypolonga region has access to all domestic Australian markets. This is due to South Australia's fruit fly free status. However, due to Mypolonga not being included in the Riverland fruit fly exclusion zone, it has the potential for Mypolonga to be excluded from export markets that place special recognition on the Riverland fruit fly exclusion zone. This means that access to overseas markets for this production area is restricted due to its not being a fruit fly free exclusion zone.
I would like again to acknowledge the support, technical advice and assistance that PIRSA is providing and has provided to the region. Given the information above, it is clear that Mypolonga is geographically important to the Riverland horticulture industry and metropolitan growers, yet we still have a government that continues to leave the Mypolonga horticulture industry dangling.
South Australians are proud to be the only state or territory that remains fruit fly free on the mainland. If an outbreak was to take place in Mypolonga, it is only a short distance from the fruit fly exclusion zone. It is calculated that the government invests about $5 million a year to maintain a fruit fly free status in the exclusion zone. The government needs to remember that this could be decimated if an outbreak were to occur in the Mypolonga area.
In closing, I urge the state government to extend the fruit fly exclusion zone by a very minimal distance. This would be beneficial not only for Mypolonga growers but for South Australia as a fruit fly free state. If the government does not make this minor change, it is putting the entire state's horticulture industry at risk. I commend the motion.
Mr PEDERICK ( Hammond ) ( 11:49 ): In no way at all do I support this amended motion, as put up by the member for Napier. I think that that the government is just missing the reality here, that Mypolonga and the horticulture area around Mypolonga is the backdoor to the Riverland. They use Riverland packing houses and processors and I believe that unless the Mypolonga area is brought into the fruit fly exclusion zone we could have a breakout sooner rather than later.
It is interesting to see that the government is quite willing to spend $5 million on the exclusion zone and would not have to spend a lot more just to include the Mypolonga growers. It seems to be a throwback to when they were protecting the former member for Chaffey. There is just no equity in this. This state has fruit fly free status and it is not assisted by a government that will not match reality in what the Mypolonga growers' needs are. That is fine if they have negotiated some industry funding and government support until 2017, but in reality what should happen, without a very big hit on the budget, is that Mypolonga be included in the fruit fly and Riverland exclusion area.
I totally reject the amendment. It basically rejects the whole principle of my motion to the house. In saying that, I would also like to note the help and support from the Mypolonga horticulture growers in supporting me in putting this motion to the house, as was indicated by the member for Chaffey. I commend the original motion.
The house divided on the amendment:
Kenyon, T.R. (teller)
Pederick, A.S. (teller)
van Holst Pellekaan, D.C.
Amendment thus carried; motion as amended carried.