Efforts to stop exotic fruit flies from entering Australia mainland through the Torres Strait will continue after a revised five-year response was endorsed on 28 June 2021 by the National Management Group (NMG).
The Response Plan 2021-2026 outlines activities aimed at eradicating annual incursion of three exotic fruit fly species (Bactrocera dorsalis, Bactrocera trivialis and Zeugodacus cucurbitae) from Torres Strait, under the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deed.
A cost shared budget of $3.5 million was agreed, which will fund response activities until 30 June 2026.
These annual incursions have been managed since 1996, initially through the Long-Term Containment Strategy for Exotic Fruit Fly in Torres Strait and since 2015, under the Deed. The success of the program is a testament to the commitment and collaboration between governments and industry, especially in northern Australia.
During the response, Biosecurity Queensland has recently trialled the use of local Torres Strait contractors, being the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) to support the delivery of operational activity for the program.
With over 10,000 kms of coastline, inlets and islands, northern Australia is vast and remote and vulnerable to exotic pest, weed and disease arrivals from countries to Australia’s north. Partnerships in the north lay the foundations for economic growth and opportunity, and this program demonstrates the benefit of mitigating risks offshore and protecting growers from the costly impacts of pests and diseases before they reach the mainland.
A cost-benefit analysis by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences demonstrated that response activities in the Torres Strait provide a significant expected economic benefit.
This eradication program is being and will continue to be delivered by Biosecurity Queensland and the Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy, with support from the Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, on behalf of all state and territory governments, the Australian Government and fruit fly affected industries:
- Apple and Pear Australia
- Australian Banana Growers’ Council
- Australian Grape and Wine
- Australian Lychee Growers Association
- Australian Mango Industry Association
- Australian Melon Association
- Australian Processing Tomato Research Council
- Australian Table Grape Association
- Avocados Australia
- Canned Fruit Industry Council of Australia
- Cherry Growers of Australia
- Citrus Australia
- Dried Fruits Australia
- Passionfruit Australia Inc
- Summerfruit Australia Ltd