A program that’s removed thousands of trees as potential hosts for fruit fly in the Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area has received State Government funding that will allow it to continue for the time being.

The Greater Sunraysia Pest Free Area’s Industry Development Committee will receive $348,000 from the Victorian Government to continue its efforts in managing fruit fly across the region from Mildura to Barham.

This has meant we can continue to fund the tree removal effort building on last season’s success of removing 2292 host trees from 631 properties and IDC chair Karen Hensgen said the committee welcomed the opportunity to continue the important work.

“The tree removal program was a great story in that it not only provides an immediate benefit by removing host fruit, but it also provides long-term benefit because it’s a permanent measure,” Ms Hensgen said.

“A lot of the fruit hygiene messages we bring out to the community involve hard work, week-in, week-out in an effort to stop fruit fly.”

 “Once the trees are removed, that’s the end of the hard work, and that’s obviously appealed to a lot of people,” she said.

The funding is part of the Victorian Government’s Statewide $6.7 million fruit fly strategy.

Ms Hensgen said she welcomed Minister Jaala Pulford’s commitment to horticultural industries in the Greater Sunraysia area as they continued to consider the best structure for managing the region’s future fruit fly control programs.

“The funding announcement is great news and certainly a strong demonstration of the Minister’s belief in the need for commitment and funding to control fruit fly in our region,” Ms Hensgen said.

“I would encourage community members who have been thinking about removing fruit trees from their home gardens to register their trees for removal now,” she said.

“The future structures of fruit fly control coordination is still being worked out, but people can still get fruit trees they don’t want and don’t need removed without charge and that’s a great opportunity.

“Trees removed now are trees you don’t have to prune or worry about bagging up the maggoty fruit and cleaning up the mess each year.

“While some people have had success, for most people they don’t have the time, effort and money needed to manage them year-round.”

More information about the tree removal program is available from the GSPFA website: www.pestfreearea.com.au or at the GSPFA office (03) 5022 0327