The Liberal Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell has lauded the work of the Goulburn Murray Valley Regional Fruit Fly Program to protect the region’s fruit produce from Queensland fruit fly infestation, calling for continued funding from the Andrews Labor Government to ensure the future of the program.
Speaking during an adjournment debate in State Parliament this week, Ms Lovell urged Agriculture Minister Jaclyn Symes to reconsider her decision to cease funding for the program in June 2020.
The Goulburn Murray Valley Regional Fruit Fly Group was established in 2016 to strengthen fruit fly management to protect the precious horticultural produce grown in the Goulburn and Murray Valley region. Current funding has allowed the appointment of the GMV Queensland Fruit Fly Regional Coordinator, a critical role in the management and coordination of the Queensland Fruit Fly Action Plan in the region.
The Goulburn and Murray Valley region is the largest producer of fruit in Victoria, accounting for more than half of Victoria’s apples, pears and stone fruit. The horticultural sector supports more than 5000 jobs and worth more than $760 million to the region’s economy.
During the debate, Ms Lovell sought a commitment from Ms Symes to provide ongoing funding to the program post June 2020 that will allow the GMV Regional Fruit Fly Group to continue their very important work in protecting our precious fruit produce.
Comments attributable to Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell:
“Queensland fruit fly will always be a threat to the beautiful fruit produced across the Goulburn and Murray region and the economic impact of infestation would be diabolical.
“It beggars belief the Minister plans to cease funding of the Goulburn Murray Valley Regional Fruit Fly Program in June 2020, potentially destroying the region’s entire horticultural industry.
“I strongly urge the Minister to reconsider this disastrous decision and commit ongoing funding to the pprogram after June 2020 to ensure our wonderful horticulture is protected in the future.”