Fruit fly funding

By David Rak

New funding will continue the fight against fruit fly in the Goulburn and Murray valleys until next year.

Announced by Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes, the funding will allow the Goulburn-Murray Valley Regional Fruit Fly Project to continue to operate in the region until June 30.

Goulburn-Murray Valley Regional Fruit Fly Project co-ordinator Ross Abberfield said the project had put a comprehensive strategy in place during its two-year history.

‘‘The current situation is that Queensland fruit fly is established in the GMV and, if unmanaged, has the potential to cause significant economic harm to the region’s horticulture industry,’’ Mr Abberfield said.

‘‘The Goulburn Murray Valley is regarded as the fruit bowl of Australia and is the largest producer of pears in the Southern Hemisphere, so protecting this positioning is essential to the region’s economy.’’

The G-MV Regional Fruit Fly Project covers more than 16,000 sq km and takes in five local government areas, including Campaspe, Moira, Greater Shepparton and Strathbogie.

Ms Symes last month announced another $2 million in grants, which will provide greater education and support for activities such as: trap building and distribution; tree pruning, removal and netting; roadside signage; and distribution of information packs.

The grants are part of the Victorian Government’s $7.8 million Managing Fruit Fly in Victoria Regional Grants Program, which supports a co-ordinated and collaborative approach to fruit fly management.