By John Anderson
A SUNRAYSIA citrus group has lashed out at the State Government for its decision to wind back funding for fruit fly control.
Sunraysia Citrus Growers chairman Vince Demaria yesterday said he was disappointed at reports the government intended to declare Queensland fruit fly (Qfly) endemic and radically cut spending on controlling the pest in the region. The cost of controlling fruit fly has risen to unsustainable levels, according to the government, hitting $9 million last year.
The government has told the horticulture sector it intends to declare Qfly endemic across most of the state and spend far less controlling the pest in a thin strip of land along the Murray River – from Barham to Mildura.
But Mr DeMaria accused the government of pulling the carpet out from under the horticulture industry.
He said such a short-sighted decision would have a devastating impact on the citrus industry in Sunraysia.
“Citrus growers have worked co-operatively with the State Government over the past few seasons to fight the Qfly problem and now the government is looking to rush an ill-founded policy with no consultation and short time-frames,” Mr DeMaria said.
“Citrus along with other horticultural industries require more time to develop new models to deal with Qfly into the future.
“SCG are calling on (Agriculture) Minister Peter Walsh and our local MP Mr Peter Crisp to intervene and support our horticulture industries to develop a new sustainable Qfly management approach in a timely and cost effective manner.
For more of this story, purchase your copy of Thursday's Sunraysia Daily 23/08/2012.