06/01/2021 - 15:00

Qld fruit fly detected in southern suburb

06/01/2021 - 15:00

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The state government has set up a quarantine zone in Coolbellup after confirming the detection of a Queensland fruit fly, warning an outbreak could cost WA millions to manage.

A large-scale outbreak of Qfly could cost WA $38 million a year to manage, the state government says. Photo: DPIRD

The state government has set up a quarantine zone in Coolbellup after confirming the detection of a Queensland fruit fly, warning an outbreak could cost WA millions to manage.

A single, female Qfly carrying eggs was detected in a permanent grid of ‘surveillance traps’ across the Perth metropolitan area, triggering a specalist response team to eradicate the outbreak.

It is separate to Qfly detections in March last year, in Perth’s western suburbs.

A 1.5 square kilometre quarantine area has been established in Coolbellup and in parts of surrounding suburbs, and will remain until further notice from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development.

The department has indicated that a large-scale outbreak would cost Western Australia about $38 million a year to manage, and has urged growers, residents and businesses to cooperate with authorities.

They can expect regular visits from government inspectors who will check for the presence of Qfly host plants, as well as apply insecticide bait to trees and install lure traps.

Vegetables WA chief executive John Shannon said an outbreak would considerably impact the state's avocados, grapes and strawberries trade, and could also lead to an increase in the reliance of chemical pesticides.

Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan reassured WA had been successful in eradicating previous incursions.

"Thanks to a massive response effort this last year, we remain on track to eradicate Qfly from Perth's western suburbs and can pivot our response to ensure this new detection is dealt with swiftly,” she said.

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