The ‘No Flies On Us’ message has hit the mark with the region’s fruit fly project recognised as part of the prestigious Victorian Regional Achievement and Community Awards, for its community contribution in working to stop the spread of the pest.
The Goulburn Murray Valley (GMV) Regional Fruit Fly Project has been named a statewide finalist for the Prime Super Agricultural Innovation Award as part of the 2019 Victorian Regional Achievement and Community Awards.
The awards highlight and reward the valuable contributions that individuals, communities and businesses make throughout regional and rural Victoria.
GMV Regional Fruit Fly Coordinator Ross Abberfield said the shortlisted finalists were extremely strong, highlighting the depth of community projects across the entire state in addition to the high calibre of business and service provision delivered to rural and regional communities.
“The awards recognise the many and varied community projects and achievements that contribute to making regional Victoria a better place to work, live and do business so we are thrilled to be named a finalist from an exceptionally strong field,” Mr Abberfield said.
The GMV Regional Fruit Fly Project was established in 2017 and brings together community, industry and government to curb the spread of Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF) through area wide management of the pest and increased community awareness.
The project takes in the Council areas of Campaspe, Greater Shepparton, Strathbogie, Moira and Berrigan and is funded through the Managing Fruit Fly in in Victoria Regional Grants Program. The project is auspiced by Moira Shire Council.
“I would like to thank the many community groups and organisations that have played a role in spreading the ‘No Flies On Us’ message. By working collaboratively we have been able to inform and educate the community on the value of taking a partnership approach to reducing the spread of fruit fly in our region,” Mr Abberfield said.
“Our partnership and support base is wide reaching and we’ve been fortunate to have the continued support of the Cobram and District Fruit Growers
Association, Fruit Growers Victoria Ltd, Shepparton Preserving Company, I.K. Caldwell, Agriculture Victoria, Goulburn Murray Water, Lions International and Rotary International in addition to our partner councils. What we’ve been able to achieve through the delivery of this project would not have been possible without these invaluable contributions and partnerships,” Mr Abberfield said.
“The shires of Campaspe, Greater Shepparton, Strathbogie, Moira and Berrigan have displayed leadership and a real commitment to strengthening the region’s horticultural industry by coming together and taking action on fruit fly,” he said.
The project aims to strengthen fruit fly management through coordination and collaboration, improve fruit fly management in commercial orchards and community areas, and prioritise fruit fly research across the region.
Queensland Fruit Fly is established in the GMV and, if unmanaged, has the potential to cause significant economic harm to the region’s horticultural industry.
“What we are doing through the GMV Regional Fruit Fly project is making a difference in practical terms. It is imperative that we maintain and build on the successes we are achieving through these collaborative partnerships and the continuation of innovative control and prevention measures,” Mr Abberfield said.
The Chair of the GMV Regional Fruit Fly Project’s Governance Group Tony Siciliano congratulated all involved for their commitment to the project.
“It has been a huge team effort and I’d like to congratulate and thank everyone who has played a role in the project in one way or another,” Mr Siciliano said.
As a result of the project:
- Fruit fly populations are monitored through an extensive regional trapping grid
- Identified fruit fly ‘hot spots’ are targeted and Field Officers are deployed to assist affected land owners in integrated management control measures
- Education workshops for community, industry and government have increased awareness of QFF and promoted management strategies in combating fruit fly populations based on ‘Ownership of the Issue’
- More than 5,500 fruit fly host trees and plants have been removed to date from private and public land through the Host Tree and Plant Removal Program
- More than 270 ha of unmanaged orchards have been identified and targeted for removal
- In the previous two years there’s been a reduction of more than 50 per cent in QFF numbers in the GMV
- There’s been a nearly 40 per cent increase in Australian stone fruit exports in the previous 12 months
Overall award winners will be announced at a gala presentation dinner in Melbourne in October.
For more information on the GMV Regional Fruit Fly project or QFF control measures, click here.