• Message from the Manager image

Welcome to the special National Fruit Fly Symposium edition of our newsletter.

It was exciting to finally meet face-to-face at the Symposium in Adelaide for first time post-Covid! A huge shout out to the presenters, panellists and participants both in-person and online who made the Symposium a hugely successful gathering from across the fruit fly system spectrum.

We welcomed a strong and varied mix of growers, government, regulators, scientists, industry value chain members, and extension specialists from all across Australia as well as from New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

The National Wine Centre in Adelaide proved to be a great venue with the new symposium model composed of a balance of presenters, panel and table group sessions being very well received. It ensured constructive, informative and robust conversations were able to be undertaken both in the formal sessions as well as during breaks over the two days. A series of actions will be shared in the near future as we use this symposium as a springboard into the next few years of collective work to deliver on the national fruit fly strategy.

We have had a busy few months since our last newsletter, not only with preparations for the Symposium, but also with three of our lead-in ‘Think Tank’ webinars with a wide variety of exceptional researchers working in the fruit fly space discussing market access, Area Wide Management (AWM), and safe trade. Dr Penny Measham shared the latest updates on the innovative market access research aimed at both maintaining and increasing national trade capability particularly through the National Export and Market Access Centre for Horticulture being developed at Redlands. In the AWM webinar, we had diverse input from Dr Heleen Kruger and Dr Hazel Parry, covering everything from the social elements of why it is so hard to change systems, as well as future tools for industry using the emerging digital twin predictive modelling concept. More recently, the CSIRO team led by Dr Rieks Van Klinken, with Jane Muller and Dr Maryam Yazdani covered the latest approach to enable safe cross-border trade with improved risk science tools. All of the ‘Think Tank’ webinar presenters were involved in the Symposium, providing further engagement opportunities around these critical initiatives.

Chris O’Connor and I have enjoyed some time on the road visiting regional partners both in Melbourne, Echuca and the Yarra Valley. The fruit fly team was also able to attend Hort Connections 2023 in Adelaide. These visits are invaluable, further developing excellent relationships with direct links to on-ground activities across growing regions and crop types. We have plans in place to continue these important visits with a full schedule coming over the next 12 months.

We welcomed a delegation from the New Zealand Fruit Fly Council during the week of the Symposium with both Matt Dyck (Chair of the NZ Fruit Fly Council and Biosecurity Manager for Kiwifruit Vine Health) and Brad Siebert (NZ Fruit Fly Council member and Deputy CEO of NZ Avocado) making the trip across to Adelaide. We held a series of meetings with both Matt and Brad with lead researchers and the National Fruit Fly Council. Matt and Brad also presented on Day Two of the symposium with ‘An update from across the Tasman’. It was particularly interesting hearing more about New Zealand’s readiness activities as well as what their key industries are doing in relation to a chemically limited future.

The recently convened NFFC Executive Committee has met on numerous occasions over the first half of 2023 as it establishes itself to provide leadership and guidance to the broader Council and NFFC management. The Executive is comprised of growers, industry fruit fly specialists, state fruit fly experts and regulators as well as the Commonwealth and Hort Innovation. Having such a diverse group provides an excellent forum to collectively explore and address critical issues across the national fruit fly priority activities.

The full National Fruit Fly Committee also met in the lead up to the Symposium. Watch out for the meeting communiques in coming weeks. NFFC members were also actively engaged in the Symposium which provided a great opportunity for the broader group of stakeholders involved in growing, researching and supporting the development of our fruit fly affected industries to meet and chat with your NFFC representatives in person, a somewhat novel but happy prospect post Covid.

The NFFC has been engaging widely across the fruit fly research network as we look to enhance our relationship with exceptional scientists. To that end, we convened a newly created NFFC Research Working Group in the lead up to the Symposium. We are also planning ongoing engagement across the entire fruit fly research network through regular regional gatherings, establishment of an ongoing biennial fruit fly research forum (held alternately with the National Fruit Fly Symposium) and providing greater opportunities to capture research gaps and needs through a variety of approaches. We’ll share more on these key initiatives in coming months.

Many of you would already know that our new Prevent Fruit Fly website is now live. Further work is being undertaken to update and populate the new website, particularly over the latter half of 2023 with new information being migrated across. One key area will be the development of our fruit fly management toolbox with a series of resources and tools to accompany this initiative.

Stuart Burgess

Manager, National Fruit Fly Council