Message hits its mark

By Cobram Courier

The roving No Flies On Us Queensland Fruit Fly Expo created a surge of activity and increased knowledge of the pest when it recently visited six towns across the Goulburn Murray Valley.

Almost 900 people took part in community information sessions, grower forums and a Lions International primary schools education program, sharpening their knowledge of QFF and the various management strategies.

The inaugural expo was an opportunity to take the ‘No Flies On Us’ message to the region’s major towns and connect with primary schools, the community, industry and growers. More than 1000 show bags and 1500 information packs were distributed.

Goulburn Murray Valley regional fruit fly co-ordinator Ross Abberfield said the expo was successful in increasing community awareness about the threat fruit fly posed and the simple steps people could take to protect against the pest.

‘‘We took this opportunity to promote and resource the primary schools education program which is managed by Lions International, who is a key stakeholder in our project,’’ Mr Abberfield said.

‘‘We were thrilled to have 15 primary schools from across the region and approximately 600 students participate in the expo, resulting in the construction of some 680 handmade traps which have been put to good use in home gardens and yards out in the community to monitor QFF numbers so control measures can then be implemented by children and their parents.

‘‘This is truly a case of Lions serving the community and full credit to the Lions clubs of Cobram, Mooroopna, Euroa, Echuca, Shepparton and Berrigan for their great effort.’’

Using traps is just one of the prevention and control strategies which forms part of the area-wide management applied to combat the spread of QFF in the Goulburn Murray Valley.

‘‘The expo highlighted the benefits of all members of the community coming together to raise awareness to protect our region against fruit fly,’’ Mr Abberfield said.

‘‘I would also like to thank the 13 local community clubs and organisations that assisted with the expo.

‘‘In addition to Lions International, who are key stakeholders in the primary schools education program, Rotary International, Probus, Landcare, Soroptimists and gardening groups and clubs came together to ensure we got the message out to everyone in the GMV.’’

Mr Abberfield said the entire region’s response to the project had been first-class.

‘‘Support for the project has been tremendous with everyone, including the media, schools, service clubs and community groups, getting on board to spread the ‘No Flies On Us’ message to every person in the GMV and beyond,’’ he said.

‘‘We were able to connect with some 677451 viewers through our television campaign, 163000 listeners through our radio campaign and more than 180000 readers through newsprint about the expo and the importance of working together as a community to minimise the effects of fruit fly through advertising and editorial coverage.’’