Fruit fly action plan funding extended for Goulburn Murray Valley group

By Rodney Woods

Moira Shire Council has received $522 800 to continue delivering the Goulburn Murray valley's fruit fly regional action plan.

The funding is part of the Victorian Government's one-year extension of the Managing Fruit Fly in Victoria Action Plan 2015-20.

Agribusiness Yarra Valley ($178 840) and Mildura Rural City Council ($511 900) have also received funding to implement regional action plans for 2020-21 on behalf of regional governance groups, while about $500 000 of the $1.72 million total pool has been allocated for regional co-ordinators across the state.

“Biosecurity is everyone's responsibility, and it's been fantastic to see the work of groups in Sunraysia, the Goulburn Murray valley and the Yarra Valley step up to manage Queensland fruit fly,” Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes said.

Goulburn Murray Valley Regional Fruit Fly Project Governance Group chair Tony Siciliano said the funding was necessary to keep on top of the threat of Queensland fruit fly.

“It's good news to keep the wheel turning for another 12 months,” he said.

“It's very important.

“As farmers, we do what we can to look after our crops, and this ties us all together including the urban and peri-urban spots in the town where we have no control of anything.

“It's more help for the residential side of things.

“On-farm we can spray and put out baits to keep them at bay, but we can’t do that in someone's backyard.

“For them (residential fruit tree growers) to do their part, it leads to less pressures for farmers, which means less chemicals and better fruit.”

Mr Siciliano, who is also the Cobram & District Fruit Growers Association president, said the funding would be used to educate the community and provide more awareness about the impact of QFF on the horticulture sector.

Despite having to wait until July 1 (the funding ran out on June 30) for an announcement on the program's extension, Mr Siciliano said it was good to have the government's backing.

“It has been frustrating (waiting),” he said.

“With all the other stuff going on, you can sort of understand (the delay).

“It's great to see the Victorian Government has backed us again and they want to be part of it.

“It's a pretty big project and we need to keep it going.”

Members for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell and Tania Maxwell said they were pleased the extension had been announced.