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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 121 asked in the Legislative Council on 21 February 2019 by Hon Robin Scott

Parliament: 40 Session: 1

Answered on

MEDITERRANEAN FRUIT FLY

121. Hon ROBIN SCOTT to the Minister for Agriculture and Food:

I refer to question without notice 51.

(1) Will the minister confirm that on 11 December 2015, the Carnarvon Growers Association met at the Dalmacija Club in Carnarvon to discuss the fruit fly program?

(2) Will the minister confirm that an uncertified copy of the minutes of that meeting contains the statement: ''Once the fly number have been reduced to a maintenance level then the cost of running the surveillance and spot spraying program should be minimal''?

(3) Has the fly number been reduced to a maintenance level?

(4) If the fly number has not been reduced to a maintenance level after more than three years, what reason or reasons would growers have for accepting a levy to continue the program?

(5) Has the fruit fly eradication program been discontinued or suspended; and, if not, why not?

Hon ALANNAH MacTIERNAN replied:

I thank the member for the question.

(1) I understand that the meeting held on 11 December 2015 was the Carnarvon Growers Association's special general meeting.

(2) The department has sourced a copy of the minutes of that meeting. In those minutes, Luke Skender from the CGA states —

Once the fly number have been reduced to a maintenance level then the cost of running the surveillance and spot spraying program should be minimal.

(3) The Mediterranean fruit fly eradication project aims to eradicate medfly from Carnarvon and has made progress. The daily trap rates have declined from seven flies per trap in 2015 to 0.5 flies per trap in January 2019.

(4) Medfly causes production losses for host produce at Carnarvon. Trading partners require evidence of the absence of pests of quarantine concern. Medfly is a leading pest of quarantine concern in WA. There is strategic value in the eradication of medfly from Carnarvon. To date, the state government has invested $3.8 million and industry has invested $1.42 million—a significant investment—into the control of medfly in Carnarvon. An economic benefits assessment indicates that the eradication of medfly from Carnarvon will realise an estimated benefit of $3.40 for every dollar spent as a result of fewer spray applications and greater access to premium markets.

(5) The program has not been discontinued. During the meeting with Carnarvon growers that I held on 12 December 2018, about two-thirds of the growers in the room supported the continuation of the program. We will consult with growers again before extending the program beyond June 2019.