Tasmania’s fruit fly incursions show the community has as much of a part to play in state biosecurity as producers and industry stakeholders.
Fruit Growers Tasmania received a $100,000 support package from the federal government to develop biosecurity information and education packages to increase community engagement.
It was two community members who reported fruit fly larvae at Flinders Island and Spreyton, Fruit Growers Tasmania president Nic Hansen said.
“The next step is ensuring both producers and the community are more closely engaged in the biosecurity space,” he said.
“This package will allow us to work with Biosecurity Tasmania to develop industry and community based messaging.”
The funding, which was secured by Tasmanian Senator Steve Martin, will be used to produce social media tools and pest and disease apps, web-based material, community information, grower workshops and support industry presence at events like Agfest.
“The Tasmanian fruit industry has taken a heavy hit in recent weeks,” Mr Martin said.
“This is a $200 million dollar industry and it is important that we continue to protect our borders to ensure a pest free status.
“It is great the government has recognised this and has provided support through the provision of a grant for the industry, who are passionate and committed to delivering this public awareness campaign.”
Federal Agriculture minister David Littleproud said the grant would ensure Tasmanian fruit growers were better armed against fruit fly and the community was better informed.
“I commend growers and the Tasmanian Government for their efforts on this issue. Local knowledge is king. This grant recognises this as it helps protect local jobs and exports,” Mr Littleproud said.
Queensland fruit fly is not the only concerning pest or disease for Tasmania’s horticultural industry, with codling moth, red fire ants, spotted wing drosophila, tomato potato psyllid and brown mamorated stink-bug also on growers’ radars, Mr Hansen said.