Two fruit fly outbreaks in the Riverland are a crippling blow to the State, according to Shadow Primary Industries Minister David Ridgway.
The outbreaks were declared today at Loxton and Pyap.
“This is devastating news,” Mr Ridgway said.
“Each outbreak is likely to cost $2 million, so that’s a total of $4 million.
“Responsibility for this outbreak rests squarely with the State Labor Government and now it needs to explain how it plans to pay these costs.
“On my last trip to the Riverland I was astonished to find that the State Labor Government has an almost relaxed attitude to an insect pest that can devastate an entire regional economy.
“The Government isn’t encouraging property hygiene to collect and destroy fallen fruit.
“There have been very few random road blocks intercepting fruit brought illegally into the Riverland, and the last time I drove from Mannum to the Riverland there wasn’t even a bin – as there should be – for people to dump their fruit and vegetables when they enter the fruit fly exclusion zone.
“I’ve urged the Weatherill Labor Government to do more, but it simply isn’t interested.
“Let’s not forget that this is the summer holiday period and tens of thousands of people are driving through and taking holidays in the area.
“It’s not just the damage to the crops. It’s the damage to our image on interstate and international markets, and it’s all because the Weatherill Labor Government hasn’t been proactive enough,” Mr Ridgway said.