Politics

SA fruit fly crisis continues to grow

Further fruit fly outbreaks continue to threaten South Australia’s horticulture industry amid warnings travellers are also putting the sector at risk.

The state government has declared new outbreaks at Warradale in Adelaide and at Port Augusta in the mid-north with authorities now battling 12 outbreaks across the suburbs.

A further five outbreaks have been declared across the SA Riverland.

Large proportions of the metropolitan area are now included in a red zone where heavy restrictions apply on the movement and use of some fruit.

A wider yellow zone with less severe restrictions covers almost all of metropolitan Adelaide.

The latest outbreaks threaten SA’s status as being fruit-fly free which has long proved a bonus for the state’s $1.3 billion horticulture industry which employs more than 37,000 people.

They also come as the state government revealed one in 10 motorists continue to flout strict rules on the moving of fruit across the state’s borders.

It said more than 10,000 vehicles were inspected during random roadblocks over the past 12 months, with 1839 kilograms of fresh produce seized and 944 fines handed out.

“It is disappointing that people continue to ignore the strict and important fruit fly rules in place and put the Riverland at risk of further incursions from the horticultural pests,” Primary Industries Minister David Basham said.

“With fruit fly outbreaks in metropolitan Adelaide, the Riverland and Port Augusta, it’s more important than ever not to move fruit and vegetables into and around South Australia.”

Mr Basham said that even though fruit flies were not as active in winter months, it was important to remain vigilant against the pest.

“Despite the colder weather kicking in, we have taken the proactive approach to extend the random roadblock program to protect the Riverland area,” he said.

“Fruit fly can only travel when people carry fruit and vegetables around. This long weekend, shop locally, leave your fruit at home.”

The South Australian opposition said primary industries officials recently told a parliamentary committee that the current spate of fruit fly outbreaks were the worst the state had ever seen.

“Industry stands to lose millions of dollars if this issue continues to get out of control,” regional development spokeswoman Clare Scriven said.

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