Legislative Council: Tuesday, November 29, 2022


Fruit Fly

The Hon. T.T. NGO (15:28): My question is to the Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development. Will the minister update the chamber on the fruit fly dog sniffer trial?

The Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN (Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Minister for Forest Industries) (15:28): I thank the honourable member for his question. Members would be aware of the Malinauskas Labor government's ongoing commitment to biosecurity in South Australia. We have seen many challenges relating to biosecurity risks over the past 12 months, and responding to fruit fly outbreaks has certainly been one of them.

The Malinauskas Labor government is committed to ensuring that South Australia remains fruit fly free, and that is why in this year's state budget we announced $13 million in additional funding to respond to fruit fly outbreaks in the Riverland. We know that keeping South Australia fruit fly free presents enormous trade benefits to our state's industries, especially in the Riverland, and that is why it is so important to continue to do everything we can to eradicate this pest.

My first regional trip as minister was to the Riverland, to speak to key stakeholders about fruit fly and to better understand the challenges they face and what we as a government can do to assist industry. Responding to fruit fly outbreaks requires a range of different responses and one of the most recent additions has been the recruitment of two fruit fly detector dogs, named Max and Rylee.

Earlier this year, I announced the trial of a fruit fly detection program that would be based in the Riverland to assist with the ongoing outbreak of Qfly in the Riverland. I am advised that the detector dog team made their first formal find of wild Qfly larvae in Renmark West recently. Given the success this program has had so far, the decision has been made to extend the trial until the end of the year and to run a tender to continue to provide this work moving forward. The tender process will see an establishment of detector dog providers seeking to extend the work for an additional 12-month period, with an option to extend further should that be required.

At present, Max and Rylee are concentrating on sites surrounding adult fly detection sites. When a detection is made, one of PIRSA's operations staff assesses properties within 200 metres of the find and identifies sites that would benefit from detector dog surveillance. This assessment is made based on the location and also the type of host trees that are present.

Each day, the detector dog team travels with an operations technical check team and they sweep sites to see whether trees can be identified that need intense sampling. If Max or Rylee indicate towards a tree or a site, then the technical check team concentrates on cutting and checking as many samples of fruit from that area as possible. I look forward to continuing to report to this place about the ongoing success of this program.