Yamba Quarantine Station

Mr PEDERICK (Hammond) (12:52): On behalf of the member for Chaffey, I move:

That this house—

(a) acknowledges the 60th anniversary of the Yamba quarantine station and the role it has played in protecting South Australia from biosecurity threats, including fruit fly, phylloxera, exotic invasive weeds and nursery material;

(b) highlights the ongoing fruit fly threat to the Riverland and South Australia from interstate;

(c) notes the importance of the Yamba quarantine station operating 24 hours, 7 days a week; and

(d) ensures everyone is aware of the importance of keeping fruit fly out of South Australia and adhering to the strict restrictions in place for bringing fruit, vegetables, other plants and plant products into the state.

Certainly, I acknowledge that the Riverland is the engine room for horticultural products, fruit and vegetables for this state. The Yamba quarantine station is an absolutely vital part of keeping that fruit fly free status, not just for the Riverland but further on through the state. Obviously, we have areas that are not in the Riverland zone that I represent between Bowhill and Murray Bridge in the main, where there are vineyards, apricots, a bit of citrus and other crops that also need to be protected from all these pests.

Fruit fly is one of those things that, if it ever takes hold, as it has done in other areas, becomes an issue that is managed, instead of fixed before it becomes an issue. That is why people have to pay the utmost respect when travelling into areas like the Riverland. If they are coming across the Victorian border at Yamba, obviously they will be stopped. They will be inspected and they need to fess up. They need to acknowledge that if they have anything in their car, any fruit or vegetables, it needs to be dealt with.

Over the years, this state, as well as the Riverland in my electorate, has contributed many billions of dollars, hundreds of billions of dollars for not just growing local produce but produce that is exported interstate, and that is also vital for our valuable international export trade. If we do not get it right—and I can assure you, this happens, because our international partners check—we can lose out on trade deals worth many hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

It is something that we must be absolutely vigilant on. I note that at Pinnaroo we do not have that 24-hour coverage and we do rely on honesty. When my boys play footy at home, down at Peake, one of the teams we play is Murrayville, at the MCG, the Murrayville cricket ground. We have to cross the border, obviously, so we are well aware of the issue of bringing material back into South Australia. I guess for cost reasons that station is not operated 24 hours a day. I think it is operated business hours during the week. It seems by practice, and by the fact that we have not seen major outbreaks for a while, that people in the main are doing the right thing. As I said, this is absolutely vital.

Several years ago, I went to the launch of the station in Port Augusta that was going to be breeding, and has been breeding, non-fertile fruit fly to upset the breeding program. That seems to be doing its job. Regarding quarantine stations, it is interesting that when you go into Western Australia, the quarantine station for going into the west—and I have gone through it several times over my life—is right on the border, and ours is at Ceduna coming from that way.

I know there was discussion for a while about whether it should be moved to the border. I think it is about 500 kilometres away from Ceduna. I know the West Australians do it, but the issue is about relocating staff and upsetting their families. It still is a very effective quarantine point coming in from Western Australia. I know for a fact that when you go through the roadhouses and rest stops in Western Australia, there are all the signs about coming back to our state: 'put it in a bin', 'don't go over the border', 'get rid of your fruit and produce'.

There are also other threats that we have to be aware of. Phylloxera could decimate the wine industry. The wine industry is only just now pulling itself out of a string of years when there was oversupply; about 25 per cent of our production was oversupplied. With some massive exports being opened up, especially in countries like China, a lot of that excess has been soaked up, so to speak, and has helped the wine industry. Just when the wine industry is having a little lift, we do not need, and we never need, to have a problem in our vineyards.

Exotic invasive weeds are certainly something that we need to be aware of. I note the issue of branched broomrape that was around in the Murraylands. I know the former member for Hammond was dealing with this and, when I came in in 2006, I was dealing with this.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: As you seek to draw another breath, member for Hammond, perhaps you would like to seek leave to continue your remarks.

Mr PEDERICK: I seek leave to continue my remarks.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.

Sitting suspended from 13:00 to 14:00.

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