​​Media release

Ministers welcome National Fruit Fly Council taking flight

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce​​
Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources,​ Senator Anne Ruston

​20 October 2015

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, and Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, today welcomed the announcement of a National Fruit Fly Council, to provide national leadership and coordination to management of fruit fly in Australia.

Minister Joyce said effective, coordinated fruit fly management would help boost and protect farmgate returns for horticulture producers through increased yield and improved market access.

Management of fruit fly in Australia is a big challenge and it continues to grow—that’s why the Australian Government has continued to advocate for a national approach, and was instrumental in making a national council a reality,” Minister Joyce said.

“Both Queensland and Mediterranean fruit fly are already established in some areas of Australia, and I want to acknowledge the role of the states and territories in containing and delimiting their range.

“We have been successful to date in keeping large parts of Australia fruit fly free but we must continue to work together and be vigilant to ensure this remains the case.

“My department is on the front line working with Queensland to keep exotic fruit fly out of the Torres Strait, and in negotiating the necessary treatment measures with overseas markets to facilitate exports.

“Fruit fly and other plant pests can affect our trading status, market access opportunities overseas and ultimately farmgate returns—and with fruit and vegetable exports expected to be worth more than a billion dollars in 2015–16, it’s important we get our management approach right.

“It’s also vitally important that all levels of industry and government work together to pool our resources, knowledge and expertise to address this problem—and that’s what the Council is set up to do.

“It’s jointly funded by the federal, state and territory governments along with the horticulture industry—while management of endemic species are the responsibilities of states and territories, the Australian Government is investing heavily through Horticulture Innovation Australia (HIA).

“We’re also boosting our horticulture industries through the Ag White Paper, where we’re investing $200 million to improve biosecurity surveillance and analysis nationally; $30.8 million to break down technical barriers to trade and appoint five new overseas Agriculture Counsellors; and $12.4 million to modernise Australia's food export traceability systems to further enhance our food safety credentials.”

Minister Ruston said the Council would build on existing work to provide national leadership on fruit fly management.

“Coming from an area famous for its horticulture products, I know first-hand the challenges that fruit fly poses to our producers,” Minister Ruston said.

“But it really is a national problem that requires a national solution, and the Council will continue the work begun under the National Fruit Fly Strategy Advisory Committee (which has now concluded), and will offer stability and certainty for the horticulture industry, with a three-year term.

“This announcement builds on and complements other work being done to foster a national approach, like the recently announced National Fruit Fly Research Development and Extension Plan, as well as the National Fruit Fly Strategy​.

I congratulate Horticulture Innovation Australia Ltd (HIA) and Plant Health Australia (PHA) for taking a leading role in coordinating the Council, and I look forward to renewed national efforts to combat this pest.”

The Council members will include representation from all levels of government, as well as industry, PHA and HIA.