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The fruit fly management story in the greater Sunraysia region

The 'Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area' was originally established in 2007. Pest Free Area certification arrangements, enable domestic and international market access. The 'Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area’ was declared a restricted area for the control of Queensland fruit fly.

The establishment of the pest free area was a cooperative effort. Victorian, New South Wales, and Commonwealth Departments of Agriculture, collectively with Horticulture Innovation Australia and the regions three key horticultural industries - citrus, stone fruit and table grapes.

Increasing numbers of Queensland fruit fly outbreaks within the region necessitated the voluntary suspension of the pest free area status in April 2014. The loss of pest free status has had a significant impact on producers. To access interstate and international markets, producers must now ensure they adhere to relevant protocols. The management of Queensland fruit fly was delegated to the regions.

Management of Queensland fruit fly within the region is currently housed within the Mildura Rural City Council on behalf of horticultural industries and Swan Hill and Gannawarra Councils. Fruit Fly Murray Valley supported by the Victorian Government undertake area wide management activities to reduce the pressure of Qfly. 

A Fruit Fly Murray Valley Regional Action Plan guides investment and area wide management of Queensland fruit fly in the region.

Area wide management

Insect pests can be particularly hard to control due to their mobility and their ability to use different plants as hosts. Area wide management is a proven management approach to tackle insect pests at a landscape scale.

Growers can have difficulty controlling fruit fly on their properties if the pressure at a regional level is not controlled.  The aim of an area wide management program is to implement a coordinated approach to reduce the pest population across the region.

The Fruit Fly Murray Valley program adopts area wide management principals; complemented with community education and awareness raising programs.  Increasing the community’s knowledge and understanding about how to control Queensland fruit fly it vital to the program’s success.

The main goal of the area wide management program in the Murray Valley region is to reduce fruit fly numbers across the region. Reduced pest pressure enables growers to produce fruit not impacted by fruit fly. By reducing populations across the community it is expected that commercial properties are more likely to be able to control the impacts on-farm.

Services provided to the community under the program include:

  • Removal of Queensland fruit fly host tree from home gardens*

  • Field investigations in areas where fly numbers are high ‘hot spots’

  • Communication and education of commercial growers and the general public

  • Education with school groups to increase the knowledge of Queensland fruit fly

  • Providing seasonal reminders and regional trends

  • Facilitated compliance and surveillance activities

  • Facilitation of testing and development of new control and management strategies within the region.


*Conditions apply click here


Sustainable fruit fly management in the Murray Valley beyond 2025

The current state-wide funding to implement Queensland fruit fly (Qfly) management initiatives will come to an end on June 30, 2025, at the completion of the Victoria’s Fruit Fly Strategy (2021-25).

Over the past few months, the Fruit Fly Murray Valley Advisory Group, made up of industry and local government representatives, has been looking at the future of Qfly management in our region.

The Victorian state government’s position* is that the management of established pests such as Qfly is primarily the responsibility of land managers and there is no guarantee of ongoing funding.

The position of the advisory group remains that industry and growers are meeting their on-farm responsibilities for fruit fly management and should not be responsible for funding work off-farm and paying for wider community initiatives on Qfly.

The advisory group’s new position paper, “Sustainable fruit fly management in the Murray Valley beyond 2025”, looks at the challenges the region faces in fruit fly management.  The advisory group anticipates that without Government support current community-based programs to address off farm fruit fly risk creators will end.

You can read the document here. 

*Victoria’s Fruit Fly Strategy 2021-2025

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Fruit Fly Murray Valley Regional Strategy 2021-2025

The FFMV have developed a  "Strategy 2021-2025" that outlines the key objectives for the management of Queensland fruit fly and preparedness to the threat of regionally exotic fruit flies within the region over the next four years. 

This strategy complements and aligns with the Victorian Fruit Fly Strategy 2021–25 and National Fruit Fly Strategy 2020–25. 

The goal of the strategy is that the Fruit Fly Murray Valley facilitate cooperation between federal, state and local governments with industry and community to minimise the impact of established fruit fly species on the regions horticultural industries and maintain area freedom from exotic fruit fly.

The objectives and outcomes outlined in the strategy will be achieved through delivery of the activities documented within the  this
FFM Regional Fruit Fly Strategy 2021-25 - Action Plan.
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Fruit Fly Murray Valley Regional Advisory Group

Membership of the group is open to industry representatives from the stone fruit, citrus, table and wine grapes, vegetables, and dried fruits industries, as well as representatives from local and state government organisations. 

Membership of the group is open to: 

  • Two representatives from each of the citrus, table grape and stone fruit industries (maximum 6 members). 

  • One representative from each of the wine grape, dried fruits, olive, avocado and vegetable industries (maximum 5 members). 

  • One representative from each of the Mildura and Swan Hill Rural City Councils and Gannawarra Shire Council (maximum 3 members).

  • One representative from each of the Agriculture Victoria’s Plants, Chemicals and Invasives Unit and the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (maximum 2 members). 

  • The State-wide Fruit Fly Coordinator, Chief Plant Health Officer Units, Agriculture Victoria (1 member)

Appointment of members will be made by the organisations that they represent. 

The full terms of reference of the Governance Group are available here

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