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Tuesday, March 20, 2018, 3:11 PM

Shire concerned about fruit fly

Murrindindi Shire Council is hosting a public information night for residents and landowners to discuss Queensland Fruit Fly (QFF) and the serious threat it poses not only to our local horticultural industries but also to the average backyard gardener.

Council’s Natural Environment and Climate Change Portfolio Councillor Rebecca Bowles said the meeting is being held at 5.30pm on 22 February at the Yea Shire Hall and Council is urging local growers of all sizes and backyard fruit and veggie growers to attend.

“We’ve had reports of QFF being found in our back yards at Alexandra already,” Cr Bowles said.

“We’re encouraging our Shire’s communities to learn how to identify and deal with these pests as soon as possible for several reasons.

“Firstly, it means we need to be proactive in protecting our own back yard harvest and secondly, we’re reducing fly numbers in our townships and supporting Statewide efforts to control QFF, which poses a significant risk to Victoria’s $2.4-billion horticulture industry.

“We’re also keen to set up some community monitoring in our Shire to provide better information about QFF movement,” Cr Bowles said.

“As with many of our pests, management is most effective when everyone gets involved by coordinating our efforts across our communities, we have the best chance of being successful.”

Three QFF experts will be attending and will be available to answer questions:

  • Cathy Mansfield, Agriculture Victoria’s Statewide Fruit Fly Program Coordinator – Cathy is a trained entomologist and has worked in horticulture for more than 25 years.
  • Megan Hill , Agriculture Victoria’s  Senior Project Officer – Megan is involved in community groups, social research and works on the Victorian Fruit Fly team.
  • Bronwyn Koll, Agribusiness Yarra Valley’s Queensland Fruit Fly Coordinator Yarra Valley – Bronwyn grew up on an orchard, has extensive knowledge of Fruit Fly, and is currently running a community awareness and education campaign in the Yarra Valley.

For more information go to Council’s website www.murrindindi.vic.gov.au/queenslandfruitfly , or contact Council’s Environmental Officer Sue McNair on (03) 5772 0702.

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