Labor's $400k promise to tackle fruit flies
A RE-ELECTED Palaszczuk Government will invest up to $400,000 to tackle fruit flies in Bundaberg and fund a pilot trial in regional agriculture data collection.
Acting Agriculture Minister Dr Anthony Lynham said the funding would support Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers (BFVG) to reduce the impact of fruit fly on their harvests.
"Fruit fly can cause significant damage to harvestable fruit and vegetables and we have been discussing this issue with BFVG.
"The Palaszczuk Government is already funding fruit fly research and this additional targeted commitment meets grower expectations.
"We will continue to work closely with industry to tackle a pest that has the capacity to damage the export potential and reputation of Queensland's fresh produce,” Dr Lynham said.
BFVG requested financial support to increase fruit fly trapping in the Bundaberg region in conjunction with Bundaberg Regional Council.
Labor Member for Bundaberg, Leanne Donaldson welcomed the funding commitment.
"The management of fruit fly requires cooperation among growers and residents to ensure fruit fly numbers are managed in the region, and improve the market access potential for our quality local produce,” Ms Donaldson said.
"This is something I have been lobbying for.
"When BFVG raised the concept of a data collection trail I was more than supportive because it will provide vital information to growers and the government,” Ms Donaldson said.
The trial will see BFVG and Bundaberg Regional Council place and monitor fruit fly traps across the region on farms and in urban areas where backyard fruit trees can maintain fruit fly populations.
Dr Lynham said a pilot data collection trial would assist BFVG to ground-truth information and potentially provide more detailed analysis of fruit fly populations and the damage they cause.
"With recent impacts from natural disasters, and the need to have contemporary information for the value of the local agricultural sector when making application for assistance, better local information will be essential,” Dr Lynham said.
The pilot regional agriculture data collection trial will allow BFVG to obtain regionally specific data that is currently not adequately captured in the ABARES data, and is regionally specific for growers in the region.
"With up to $400,000 going to fruit fly management and a regional agriculture data collection trial, the growers in Bundaberg will no doubt help boost the productivity of Queensland's agricultural sector, now valued at $20 billion.”
"A re-elected Palaszczuk Government looks forward to seeing positive outcomes from this commitment to Bundaberg growers,” Dr Lynham said.
Dr Lynham said the Palaszczuk Government's commitment to support Bundaberg's fruit and vegetable growers was in stark contrast to the election promises from the LNP.
"When Tim Nicholls was Treasurer he sacked 26% of Biosecurity Queensland staff, cut more than 600 jobs from the Department of Agriculture and stopped grants programs.
"Any biosecurity commitment from the LNP during the election campaign must be viewed with scepticism based on past deeds,” Dr Lynham said.
The Palaszczuk Government's election policy Driving Queensland Agriculture and Rural Jobs Growth Policy also committed to maintaining the Queensland Agricultural Workforce Network an existing program with a position located with BFVG.