The $3 million expansion of the National Sterile Insect Technology (SIT) facility at Port Augusta is now underway, helping to drive down fruit fly numbers in South Australia.
The existing site, which opened in November 2016, has reached its capacity, producing up to 20 million sterile flies a week with most being released in the Riverland as part of the response to the current outbreaks in the region.
The program aims to reduce fruit fly population by mating sterile flies with wild flies, resulting in no fertile offspring.
The expansion is funded under the $30 million Australian Government National Building Resilience to Manage Fruit Fly program, with additional contributions from PIRSA and Citrus SA, and once completed will have twice the capacity of the original facility, doubling Queensland Fruit Fly (Q-fly) production.
The SIT facility will provide a critical service to help eradicate outbreaks in pest-free areas and reduce pest pressure in vulnerable production areas. SIT contributes to reduced pest damage and costs to farmers who must treat their fruit before it goes to premium export market.
Currently work on the Q-fly facility is on track to be completed by spring 2023 with additional flies expected to be ready for release later this year.
Production of sterile Q-flies will continue throughout the construction phase. The expansion will occur alongside the existing building and will then be joined at the end of the construction phase.
For more information on the National SIT Facility and SIT operations visit fruitfly.sa.gov.au.
Quotes attributable to Federal Minister for Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt: “The Albanese Government continues to support the ongoing efforts of the South Australian Government in its battle to eradicate Queensland fruit fly from the Riverland.”
“The projects funded under the Building Resilience to Manage Fruit Fly package will help build adaptive resilience and support growers getting their product to market.”
“Fruit flies are one of the world’s most destructive horticultural pests and pose a risk to most commercial fruit and vegetable crops. Helping protect this sector from fruit fly impacts reduces costs throughout the supply chain from growers to consumers. ABARES current forecasts indicate that Australia is set to produce $18.2 billion of horticulture in 2023-24, of which around half is susceptible to fruit fly.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development, Clare Scriven: “The South Australian Government is committed to retaining South Australia’s fruit fly free status and continues to apply significant efforts to eradicate the pest from all outbreak sites in the Riverland."
For more information:
Senator Murray Watt
Suite G04 Kay House
35 Scarborough Street
Southport, QLD, 4215
Tel.: +61 (07) 5531 1033