Mildura Weekly : Friday May 30 2014 Vol 8 No 30
Mildura Weekly – 30/05/14 5 www.milduraphonebook.com.au By BEN PISCIONERI A NEW model to tackle Sunraysia’s ongoing fruit fly epidemic would see Sunraysia’s citrus and table grape growers pay a $3 a tonne levy to manage the pest. Growers will soon be briefed on the draft Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area Industry Development Order in coming days in a series of consul- tation meetings, which will also be used to help gauge their support. The Order has been developed over the past three months follow- ing a series of regular meetings be- tween citrus, table grape and stone fruit industry representatives in the wake of the Victorian Government’s suspension of Sunraysia’s pest free area status earlier this year. Under the conditions of the sus- pension, fruit exported from Sun- raysia must be cold treated, which prevents fresh fruit being transport- ed by air to key markets, ultimately costing growers millions of dollars. As part of the terms of the sus- pension, the Victorian Government announced more than $1million to eradicate fruit fly from the region. However growers were told they also needed to contribute to ongo- ing programs to control and eradi- cate the pest, which has been the impetus for new draft Order. The key components of the Or- der include: • Table grape and stone fruit growers who produce more than a tonne of fruit annually, and citrus growers with at least 150 trees must pay the levy. •Thelevywillbesetat$3a tonne for the first year. A vote on the levy will be taken annually for the duration of the four-year Order, however the levy must not exceed $3.50 a tonne. • The Victorian and New South Wales Governments will contribute in-kind support equivalent to 30 per- cent of total funding. • Growers can apply for exemp- tion from paying the levy if they can prove they don’t receive any benefit from it. The upcoming consultation meetings will be used to gauge in- dustry support for the order, which if given enough support, will be voted on by growers. If the Order is voted in, growers will get a say each year on how the levy will be spent to tackle fruit fly. The initial $3 levy was based on the costs associated with recent fruit fly surveillance and eradication mea- sures undertaken in the PFA. Sunraysia Citrus Growers chair- man, Vince Demaria, said that for citrus growers used to paying the Murray Valley Citrus Board levy be- fore it was forced to shut down, the levy would be a similar cost impost. However he said instead of the money being used for a raft of differ- ent measures, the entire $3 a tonne would be injected into combatting fruit fly. Mr Demaria said the working group did its best to ensure the levy was as small as possible, while still producing a result. “What the industry decided was to go for a levy that was bare bones,” he said. “We don’t want to have any ex- cess there to start something bigger than what it needs to be. So we want- ed to start at a minimum and look for as many cost savings as we can.” Mr Demaria said while consul- tation sessions still need to be con- ducted, the initial reaction from cit- rus growers involved in the working group meetings was positive. “They want something done to maintain the pest free area,” he said. “They all understand the impor- tance of it, so they’re very keen to look at it and go to the consultations to see what’s going to be proposed and move forward from there to a vote.” Mr Demaria said if the Order is given the green light the first action on the ground would be to ensure accurate and thorough surveillance. “Without the surveillance you can’t maintain a pest free area. You have to actually get the data and monitor the traps to see where the problem is,” he said. “Going forward from there, if the system’s up and running, then we can start looking at the eradication measures that are in place and what’s been done before and improving on that, because obviously what’s been done hasn’t worked in the past 12 months, and a lot of that is due to budget constraints. “There are new technologies such as male annihilation techniques and sterile insect technology, and we’re not ruling out any of those. Provided they’re code compliant we can look at those into the future, but if we lose the PFA, then we’ve got no chance of using those going forward.” In terms of the current fruit fly situation in the PFA, the unseason- ably warm weather over the past two months has hampered efforts to combat the pest. Industry is reporting increasing fruit fly numbers, with several new outbreaks in the past month, and several pending outbreaks. Industry consultation meetings to discuss the proposed Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area Industry Development Order will be held at the Euston Club next Tuesday from 3pm, Mildura Settlers next Wednes- day from 10am, and the Ellerslie Rural Fire Station from 4pm next Wednesday. New approach to tackle fruit fly threat • DETERMINED: Sunraysia Citrus Growers chairman Vince Demaria discusses the future of fruit fly control funding measures with Victoria’s Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh earlier this year. $13 99 $2999 $999 $2450 $10 99 $750 $11 99 $1299 $16 99 $11 50 $19 99 $950 VIAGRA VIAGRA SOMAC NEXIUM KARVEA DIABEX VIAGRA VIAGRA PARIET MICARDIS EFEXOR XR COVERSYL ALL PRODUCTS ON THIS PAGE NEED A PRESCRIPTION We will endeavour to maintain the retail prices for products in this prescription pricelist until 31st December 2014, however we reserve the right to increase our retail prices at any time, should our costs increase due to changes in Government policy and or supplier price increases. Chemist Warehouse will not be held responsible for out of stock items and reserves the right to delete items when supply can no longer be assured. Chemist Warehouse reser ves the right not to supply items to consumers where we have professional and ethical concerns. 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