The National Fruit Fly Council has been formed to work with growers and fruit fly management community groups across all states and territories to control fruit fly on a national scale.
Greg Fraser, Executive Director and CEO of Plant Health Australia, said that the Council will drive coordinated efforts across Australia to manage fruit fly to prevent them being a constraint to sustainable production or a barrier to trade and market access.
“This is an increasing challenge now some common chemical controls have been removed as options for farmers,” said Greg.
The four main focus areas for the Council are:
- Fruit fly management systems – activities for prevention, detection, eradication, and management of fruit flies.
- Market access – activities that will assist in securing entry conditions for horticultural produce into markets.
- Legislation and regulation – ensuring that regulation and legislative controls for managing fruit flies are in harmony both across Australia and with international standards.
- Research and development – ensuring that Australian R&D provides technically justifiable approaches and innovative solutions to meet the requirements of the three areas above.
The Council will consider the management of Mediterranean fruit fly (Medfly) and Queensland fruit fly (QFF). There will also be an emphasis on exotic fruit flies that could, if established, significantly impact the ability of industries to produce marketable fruit.
Funding for the Council will come from Horticulture Innovation Australia (Hort Innovation) and federal, state and territory governments. A full time national manager of fruit flies will be appointed to drive the Council’s agenda.
This role will have strong links to the two new national positions established by Hort Innovation, the SITplus Program Director and the QFF Area-Wide Management Coordinator. These three people will coordinate activities to ensure messages are delivered to all stakeholder groups.
The National Fruit Fly Council will take over the work of the National Fruit Fly Strategy Advisory Committee.
Two appointments made to lead QFF work
Hort Innovation has appointed two people to support and coordinate the work they fund to manage QFF.
Mr Dan Ryan has been appointed as Program Director of the SITplus consortium that brings together experts from different research and government organisations working in sterile insect technology (SIT). He will work with stakeholders to communicate with existing and new research and commercial partners, and coordinate the different parts of Hort Innovation’s QFF work.
Dr Penny Measham has been appointed as the QFF Area Wide Management (AWM) Coordinator to prepare and support industry and councils for the eventual deployment of SIT QFF. She will be the primary two-way conduit between the project’s research team and stakeholders involved in QFF management for delivery of the regionally focused programs in horticultural production areas affected by endemic QFF or outbreaks.
If successful, these Hort Innovation programs will see the delivery and production of a sterile male line of QFF and adoption of an associated AWM program.