Membership of the recently established National Fruit Fly Council (NFFC) has been broadened and a full time manager appointed to assist the Council carry out its mission to coordinate fruit fly management activities at a national level.
The NFFC brings together government and industry members to drive the delivery of a national system that prevents fruit flies being a constraint to sustainable production or a barrier to trade and market access.
In continuing the work of the National Fruit Fly Strategy Advisory Committee, the Council took the decision that it was essential that the national group included a broad range of representatives in order to be effective.
Jon Durham, independent chair of the Council said that it was essential to expand membership to increase the representation of people affected by fruit flies, in order to develop a truly national solution.
“We have invited people who will bring a range of experience to the Council including government, peak industry bodies, regional groups, as well as growers and researchers,” Mr Durham said.
“The Council now includes six industry representatives, ensuring its expertise covers a range of different crops affected by fruit flies, as well as regions impacted by the two economically significant species Mediterranean fruit fly and Queensland fruit fly.”
“Membership also covers pest free areas and places where fruit flies are endemic or transitional,” he added.
The NFFC has also appointed a full time National Manager, Darryl Barbour, who comes to the role with a wealth of experience in biosecurity, pest management, market access, the codes of practice for both Mediterranean and Queensland fruit flies, and a background in entomology.
Greg Fraser, Executive Director and CEO of Plant Health Australia (PHA), the coordinators of the industry-government partnership for biosecurity in Australia, said that Mr Barbour was an excellent choice for the role.
“Darryl will be ideal because of his thorough understanding of the issues, and an ability to work with a range of stakeholders including regulatory officials, growers, packers and industry bodies,” Mr Fraser said.
“The Council will need to ensure that everyone is engaged in fruit fly management.”
Mr Barbour will be located in Canberra at PHA, the organisation that developed the National Fruit Fly Strategy and the follow-up action plan, and arranged the industry and government funding for the Council.
“Being based at PHA will allow Darryl access to the organisation’s 54 members, all of whom are stakeholders in plant biosecurity,” Mr Fraser added.
The NFFC considers the management of the pests Mediterranean fruit fly and Queensland fruit fly, which affect yield and market access for Australian produce. It also oversees efforts to prevent other exotic species from establishing.
Fruit flies damage a wide range of fruit and vegetable crops with the value of fruit fly affected industries being approximately $4.8 billion. The economic benefit of a national approach to controlling the pest was clearly demonstrated in 2012 when the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Science estimated that the benefits to of implementing the National Fruit Fly Strategy would be between $29 and $38 million per year.