27 Jan 2014

Govt will pay for Queensland fruit fly response

6:26 am on 27 January 2014

The Government has signed off on a new way of managing biosecurity that means primary industries will share the costs of dealing with any pest or disease outbreak.

But the horticultural sector won't be receiving a bill for the current Queensland fruit fly response.

Government Industry Agreements (GIA), will mean industry groups and Government collaborating on biosecurity - responding to pest or disease incursions together and sharing the costs.

The Cabinet approved GIA in December. But formal agreements between the Government and primary industry bodies have not yet been signed and the Ministry for Primary Industries has confirmed it will pick up the tab for the current fruit fly operation.

A sole male fruit fly was found in a surveillance trap in Whangarei on Tuesday. On Saturday 162 extra traps were set around Whangarei to determine whether the fly was part of an infestation, in addition to 83 traps set on Thursday and 90 that are permanently in place.

No further fruit flies have been found although MPI deputy director-general Andrew Coleman said a final all-clear cannot be given until a fortnight after the initial find.

MPI put the cost of dealing with the last fruit fly discovery in Auckland in 2012 at about $2 million.

Kiwifruit Vine Health says it's in discussions with the ministry and other horticultural sector groups to work out an operational agreement for dealing with fruit fly.

It will set out the cost sharing between industry and Government, but it won't be submitted until about July.