South Australia announces major crack down on fruit flies
The state government announced the zero tolerance policy to protect the horticulture industry in the state's Riverland region after an outbreak was detected in Loxton, 250 km east of Adelaide in December.
Tim Whetstone, SA's minister for primary industries and regional development said that drivers caught entering the Riverland with fruits would be hit with a 375-Australian-dollar (262 U.S. dollars) fine by officers at quarantine stations.
Under the former system, motorists carrying fruits could escape penalty if they declared the fruits and disposed of it.
"The zero tolerance policy is aimed at changing the attitude of motorists who flout the law and bring produce into South Australia," Whetstone told News Corp Australia on Friday.
"This type of behavior is putting Riverland industries and communities at risk of economic devastation from fruit fly."
New signs warning motorists have been installed on roads into Riverland as have roadside bins to give them the opportunity to dispose of any fruits.
Fruit fly outbreaks can cripple a region's horticulture industry by dramatically reducing its capacity to sell fruit domestically and internationally. ■