Farming
Fruit fly message getting through to motorists

SOUTH Australia's zero tolerance policy for people attempting to carry fresh fruit and vegetables over the border looks to have paid off.

The zero tolerance policy was implemented by the South Australian Government in January 2019 following an outbreak of fruit fly in Loxton.

South Australian Primary Industries Minister Tim Whetstone said he was pleased to see a decreased number of offenders through the Yamba Quarantine Station on the Sunraysia and Riverland border.

"From December 21 to December 29, 2019, 550 people carrying a total of 798 kilograms of prohibited fresh fruit and vegetables have been seized under South Australia's zero tolerance approach to fruit fly at the Yamba Quarantine Station," he said.

"This compares with 500 kilograms over just two days prior to last Christmas."

Motorists are notified by signs on the Sturt Highway in the lead up to the station, and guided to quarantine bins to discard any fresh fruit or vegetables.

Travellers who ignore these warnings and arrive at the station with fresh produce risk facing a minimum fine of $375.

Mr Whetstone reminded travellers that the outbreak of fruit fly larvae could be detrimental to South Australia's horticulture industry.

"It only takes one piece of produce infected with fruit fly larvae to cause widespread devastation for the Riverland's horticulture industries and communities and impact on South Australia's $1.2

billion horticulture industry," he said.

"The message is clear – if you are caught, intentionally or unintentionally, with prohibited fruit and vegetables at Yamba Quarantine Station and random roadblocks held across the state – you will be

fined."

Mr Whetstone said waiting times for inspections at Yamba Quarantine Station are less than five minutes for motorists, and that keeping the region free of fruit fly was a top priority.

"Keeping South Australia fruit fly free is everyone's responsibility so as you travel on your holidays this summer, remember to leave your fresh fruit and vegetables at home and shop for items

once you've reached your destination," he said.