Hills Orchard Improvement Group concerned over lack of funding for fruit fly management

Brett DelSimone.
Brett DelSimone.

THE State Government has confirmed it is working on a proposal for Area Wide Management (AWM) to control fruit fly in the Perth Hills, but has denied committing to funding the scheme.

But Hills Orchard Improvement Group (HOIG) spokesman Brett DelSimone said the Department of Agriculture and Food had confirmed it would implement AWM at a cost of about $10 million per year.

He said HOIG was looking forward to an announcement from Agriculture Minister Ken Baston that would give growers hope for their businesses, protect consumers from price rises and prevent a flood of inferior imported fruit.

‘The department is the only instrumentality that has the legislated power to implement and enforce the required AWM practices throughout the declared Biosecurity Management Zones,’ he said.

‘If every pillar is not fully implemented and maintained, the system would ultimately fail.’

‘Department entomologists have travelled the world at great expense for decades studying AWM principles. We are blessed to have the subsequent knowledge and commitment to act.’

But a spokeswoman said the department was working with the WA Stonefruit interim sub-committee, the Hills Medfly initiative and Horticulture Innovation Australia on a management proposal that would be led and funded by industry.

‘DAFWA would provide in-kind technical support to assist in development and implementation’