Worst fruit fly outbreak period in VIC: motorists warned to dump fruit

In the midst of one of Victoria’s worst fruit fly outbreak periods, road blocks are being set up to detect any people travelling into the Sunraysia area with fruit.

"Queensland fruit fly is a real threat to many businesses in the Sunraysia area and these measures are essential to protect them," Agriculture and Food Security Minister Peter Walsh said.

"We are appealing to motorists and travellers to do the right thing and help protect the region's valuable fruit and vegetable industry, upon which many livelihoods depend.”

The mild summer and autumn weather conditions have prolonged the fruit fly outbreak period, and while residents and local industries are being praised for their cooperation, one of the most significant threats is motorists entering the area with potentially damaging fruit.

"The co-operation of motorists and travellers makes a huge difference to the success of control and eradication programs,” Walsh said.

Roadside warning signs and yellow quarantine bins to dispose of fruit are provided in the Sunraysia Pest Free Area and Walsh said Victorian and interstate motorists planning to travel to the Mildura field days or visit the Sunraysia district needed to be aware that bringing fruit into the district is illegal.

Motorists found carrying fruit at any of the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) random roadblocks in operation could be issued with a $600 fine.

"DPI has been operating mobile roadblocks throughout May and will continue until early June in the battle to control Queensland fruit fly in the Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area," Walsh said.

"Fruit fly host fruits include apples, pears, stone fruit, grapes, tomatoes and chillies and it is crucial that people do not carry any of these into the Sunraysia Pest Free Area."

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