The Brumby Labor Government will resume its Queensland fruit fly (QFF) eradication program at Koondrook next month.
Visiting north-west Victoria, Agriculture Minister Joe Helper said the program had been suspended over the winter months when the flies were less active and control measures less effective but it was ready to resume.
“This is not a new outbreak in the Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area,” Mr Helper said.
“It is, hopefully, the final stage of the major response effort started by the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) when an outbreak of QFF was discovered in Mildura.”
Mr Helper said the eradication program was vital to maintaining market access for the high-value horticultural industries in the Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area.
“The importance of the Pest Free Area was recently highlighted when the project received further funding from the Brumby Labor Government and industry through Horticulture Australia Limited,” he said.
“The Mildura outbreak was accordingly managed as an emergency response by DPI and resources were allocated to the response from across the state.
“Fruit movement restrictions from Mildura to most markets were eventually lifted on April 28, however the last fly caught in the Koondrook/Barham outbreak area was on April 30, which means that the area cannot be declared free of QFF until mid-December at the earliest.
“The eradication program needs to continue until that time.”
About 300 Koondrook households will receive a notice about the program before DPI officers visit.
Residents are encouraged to help by providing access to their backyards and by not removing any home-grown fresh fruit from their property.
Most fruits, including citrus, stone and pome fruit, berries, grapes, tomatoes, capsicums and chillies, are potential hosts of Queensland fruit fly.
The Department of Industry & Investment in New South Wales is responsible for the eradication program in that state and has been treating properties across the river in the Barham sector of the outbreak area.