Mildura Weekly : Friday May 27 Vol 10 No 29
NEWS 3 FRIDAY, MAY 27, 2016 MILDURAWEEKLY.COM.AU SUNRAYSIA table grape growers have raised more than $300,000 in less than a week to fight fruit fly following recent ‘crisis talks.’ A meeting was called last Thursday after it was revealed that several Sunraysia-based table grape growers had failed to pay a compulsory levy (three cents a box collected and passed on by box suppliers on behalf of grow- ers) to the Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area (GSPFA) committee, which is reliant on stone fruit, cit- rus and table grape grower contri- butions to operate. Sunraysia Table Grape Grow- ers Association (STGGA) presi- dent, John Argiro, praised the response of local growers, with more than 130 people attending the talks, which provided an up- date on the work currently being undertaken by the GSPFA com- mittee. Members of the GSPFA com- mittee spoke about fruit fly, and showed graphs and ani- mations of how the pest was growing in the area, while dis- cussing how grower contribu- tions would be used in the fight. Since the meeting, more than $300,000 has been raised by the table grape industry for the GSP- FA committee, with five ‘big’ table grape growers pledging $50,000 each prior to the meeting. Wakefield Transport and Sun- raysia Case Manufacturers also contributed $5000 apiece. “Bruno Moras (a prominent Sunraysia-based table grape grower) asked those big grow- ers, for the benefit of the indus- try, to contribute a considerable amount of money to the levy – more than they had to,” Mr Ar- giro said. “There were also a lot of growers who were only liable to contribute $6000 or $7000, who instead put in $20,000, contrib- uting more than their fair share. “After Thursday night’s meet- ing there has been a steady stream of grower payments, and growers realise now the importance of this levy, and that we must keep this in check.” Mr Argiro said with grower contributions “starting to flow,” the industry’s next concern was to educate the public about the pest’s threat, with the STGGA looking to invest $20,000 of its own funds toward a fruit fly edu- cational campaign. “We have now educated the growers, and they are all coming on board, and now it’s time to educate other community resi- dents,” he said. “Education is the next step, and ideally we would like to see Mildura Rural City Council start knocking on doors to help residents deal with the is- sue. “We know where the hotspots are, and Council has by-laws that they can act on to help clean these hotspots up. We need Council to go to problem areas and ask residents to clean up, and if they don’t I think penalties need to apply.” GSPFA committee spokesper- son, Vince Demaria, said the in- flux of grower-contributed funds would help the group take the next step in battling fruit fly. He said close to $400,000 in additional grower contributions – across all three participating industries – had been received in the past two weeks alone. “Dollars are one thing, but when you get support for what you’re trying to achieve that’s huge,” Mr Demaria said. “It’s good to be able to sit down with people and let them see the dam- age this pest is doing, and could continue to do, and how it could affect access to current and future markets. “This process is all about gaining trust, and about in- dustries being united, and the GSPFA committee would like to commend the Sunraysia Table Grape Growers Association for organising last week’s meeting, while also commending the lob- bying work of Bruno Moras and John Argiro in getting growers to the table.” • Continued Page 5 Grape growers answer fruit fly funding call • COMMITTED: Sunraysia table grape growers have raised more than $300,000 in less than a week to fight fruit fly following ‘crisis talks’ held in the region last Thursday. More than 130 growers attended last week’s meeting, ABOVE, which aimed to provide an update of the work being carried out by Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area committee, which is reliant on stone fruit, citrus and table grape grower contributions to operate. By Vinnie Rodi firstname.lastname@example.org 40 Lintons Lane, Mildura (CBD) behind the Art Vault, from 8th Street email@example.com 1800 611 214 ANTIQUES Mon-Fri|10am-6pm Saturday | 9:30am - 1:30pm · Vintage · Retro · Collectables · Memorabilia · Outdoor/Indoor · Furniture Removals www.facebook.com/ theshedmildura 78A LANGTREE MALL MILDURA | (03) 5023 2035 | WWW.LITTLEFRANKIEFOX.COM.AU (COMING SOON) Exclusive stockist of Hugs Factory and Incy Interiors in Sunraysia Children’s Nursery and Bedroom Furniture, Decor, To ys and More! CALL 0418 502 207 7 Scott Crescent Mildura Your Deep Cycle Battery Exper t... loca l MILDURA DISCOUNT BATTERIES locaa lllll SUV, 4WD & LIGHT COMMERCIAL SUPPORTED WITH A 30 MONTH WA RRANTY! 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