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Pest be gone: fruit flies eradicated from mainland Tasmania

Fruit Fly Signage

Twelve months on from the bio-security disaster that saw the Queensland Fruit Fly discovered in the north of the state, the restrictions have been lifted for mainland Tasmania. 

The pest was originally found on Lady Barron on Flinders Island and subsequently in Spreyton, Devonport and George Town.

Export restrictions for Flinders Island is expected to follow suit in being raised in March, provided there are no further detections. 

Minister for Primary Industries and Water, Guy Barnett has welcomed the lifting of restrictions, but says it also acts as a warning. 

"While achieving Pest Free Area status on mainland Tasmania is great news, we all must remain vigilant and take our Island’s bio-security very seriously in order to protect our agricultural industries."

The industry is worth approximately $154 million a year at the farm gate, with values of up to three times that when processed and sold as food products. 

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Richard Colbeck says that it's been a tough year for growers. 

“The next step is to demonstrate our fruit fly freedom to our export markets so that vital trade can resume as well," he said. 

“Our trading partners internationally have been monitoring our response to fruit fly closely and I am confident that our protocols will stand up to the highest scrutiny and our exporters will have restored access to these lucrative markets soon.”

Fruit Fly Jar

Shadow Minister for Primary Industries, Shane Broad, is encouraging Tasmanian's to buy locally to support the growers after their ordeal. 

“This is great news for Tasmania’s fruit exporters who have had a tough 12 months just trying to keep their businesses operating in this uncertain time,” Dr Broad said.

“Many growers have suffered huge financial losses and still have to work hard to reassure their trading partners and win back those markets.

“Tasmanians can show their support by buying local fruit and spreading the word about our fruit fly free status.

Minister Barnett says that going forward it will be particularly important to remain vigilant. 

"We are now better prepared in terms of bio-security than an any other time in Tasmanian history, but there still remains a risk."