Fruit fly campaign in $80,000 boost

Joy Sloan with a trap used for catching fruit flies.

Joy Sloan with a trap used for catching fruit flies.

THE president of a Border group fighting fruit fly has welcomed the federal government’s $80,000 allocation to start a national fruit fly strategy advisory committee.

But Joy Sloan from the Fight the Fruit Fly Association Albury-Wodonga says it needs to have some input to the national committee to present a broader perspective on the extent of the problem.

Ms Sloan said she believed the funding had been provided essentially for the Sunraysia region to maintain a fruit fly-free status.

“It is really not targeted at the home gardener,” Ms Sloan said.

She said the impact of fruit fly in Albury-Wodonga during last summer was “a mixed bag”.

“Some people got smashed here in town and others didn’t,” she said yesterday.

Ms Sloan said a lot of gardeners were hit hard in the Tallangatta, Kiewa and Mitta valleys, as well as Cudgewa and Corryong.

She said the Victorian and NSW governments had walked away from fruit fly control with the onus falling on the community or individuals.

“The biggest problem we have is for the community to control it,” she said.

“That is why we should have a representative on this national advisory committee.”

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said the fruit fly was a damaging pest with serious implications for Australia’s horticulture industry and funding would enhance regulatory oversight of domestic fruit fly issues.

Ms Sloan said her association was the only one of its kind in the southern Riverina and country Victoria.

“We field so many questions through our website,” she said.

Ms Sloan said the weather had been on the side of home gardeners in recent years in their battle against fruit fly.

“The past couple of summers have not been conducive to fruit fly,” Ms Sloan said.

“There is a massive, endemic population.

“We need to keep baiting, we need to pick up ripe fruit.”