13 February 2020

From left to right: Cathy Mansfield (Fruit Fly State Coordinator, Agriculture Victoria), Cr Libro Mustica (Mayor, Moira Shire), Kelly Joy (Manager Strategic Projects, Agriculture Victoria), Christina Cook (Manager, National Fruit Fly Council), Kim O’Keeffe (GMV Fruit Fly Project Governance Group – Tony Siciliano, Group Chair unavailable for photo) and Ross Abberfield (GMV Fruit Fly Project Coordinator).

The area wide management (AWM) of fruit fly relies on a united management approach, bringing together agencies and representatives from a broad spectrum of organisations.

The Goulburn Murray Valley (GMV) Fruit Fly Governance Group recently met with Agriculture Victoria and the Manager of the National Fruit Fly Council in Cobram, Victoria to discuss opportunities to further enhance the coordinated management of the pest.

The GMV Fruit Fly Project is a recognised leader in fruit fly AWM, bringing together community, government and industry to reduce the effects of Queensland fruit fly (QFF) on the region, along with its horticultural sector and local economy.

The project received the 2019 Victorian Regional Achiever of the Year Award and the 2019 Victorian Agricultural Innovation Award in recognition of it achievements.

Goulburn Murray Valley Fruit Fly Coordinator Ross Abberfield said the 60 per cent reduction in fruit fly trapped at comparative peak periods over the past two years highlighted the project’s success.

“The project has successfully increased awareness, education and engagement of fruit fly within the community, industry and government,” Mr Abberfield said.

The GMV Fruit Fly Project is hosting the SITPlus pilot release sterile QFF by Macquarie University in Cobram, which according to Mr Abberfield has the potential to reduce the use of pesticides and severely reduce the spread of the pest.

SITPlus Program Director Dan Ryan said it was pleasing to see the early results of the Cobram pilot.

“The pilot is establishing the basis for effective urban suppression to help growers in the Cobram region. I’m very happy to see good collaboration happening between Agriculture Victoria, Moira Council and the SITPlus partners for the benefit of the Cobram growers,” Mr Ryan said.

The recent collaboration between key agencies was an opportunity to discuss the Draft National Fruit Fly Strategy 2020-2025 which provides a framework for national cooperation on fruit fly issues and identifies four key strategic objectives for Australia: maintain freedom from exotic fruit fly; minimise the incidence and spread of fruit fly; implement national systems that support market access; and facilitate a cooperative and committed national approach to fruit fly management.

National Fruit Fly Council’s Manager Christina Cook said the Council brings together governments, growers and research funders to oversee the implementation of the National Fruit Fly Strategy, and recognises the importance of coordinating the different roles and responsibilities of stakeholders in building a strong national fruit fly system.

“The Council provides strategic advice and leadership on fruit fly policy and RD&E (research, development and engagement) issues to stakeholders including the National Biosecurity Committee, Plant Health Committee, Hort Innovation, industry and the community” Ms Cook said.

The Strategy’s implementation will be guided by work plans containing prioritised activities based on agreed risks and opportunities and benefits and costs. These plans will embrace the integrated nature of fruit fly management from ongoing on-farm control measures, through to border control activities and market access negotiations, and acknowledge that the contribution and cooperation of many different stakeholders is necessary for success.

A coordinated national system requires cooperation across disciplines and geographic boundaries towards achieving agreed common goals. Industry, government, research and community forums at all levels play a role in raising awareness of fruit fly issues, determining priorities, directing and providing resources and monitoring progress.

Collectively these forums represent the national system and are fundamental sources of information and influence which must be connected to one another and to overarching national governance structures.

For further info about the GMV Fruit Fly Project visit www.gmv-qldfruitfly.com.au

The GMV Fruit Fly Project is funded by the Victorian Government’s Managing Fruit Fly Regional Grants Program.

The National Fruit Fly Council is supported by Plant Health Australia (PHA), a national not-for-profit company funded by plant industries and government’s around Australia.

PHA hosts this website which is dedicated to helping the community improve fruit fly management in Australia.