The sterilisation rate of fruit flies has been boosted at the Port Augusta-based national facility with the installation of an additional X-ray irradiator at the site.
Recognising the urgent need to further strengthen South Australia’s defence against fruit fly, Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the State Government has provided $500,000 to fund a new irradiator to boost sterilisation technology.
“The use of Sterile Insect Technology is a key part of the eradication response to fruit fly outbreaks in South Australia and the installation of a new irradiator at the Port Augusta facility further bolsters the state’s efforts against the horticultural pest,” said Minister Whetstone.
“This sterilisation technology is not only embraced by South Australia but also by other states, with flies produced at Port Augusta also deployed in New South Wales and Victoria.
“This second irradiator gives us the opportunity to speed up the rate of flies irradiated at any one time, making more flies available to be used in our fight against the pest and ensures there is an active contingency plan in place in future should there ever be a fault with one of the irradiators.
“SIT flies produced at Port Augusta have been released at Loxton to assist in eradicating the Queensland fruit fly outbreak.”
Member for Stuart Dan van Holst Pellekaan said the Port Augusta facility has played a critical role in the fight against fruit fly in South Australia.
“South Australia is leading the way on Sterile Insect Technology and it’s occurring right here in Port Augusta,” said Mr van Holst Pellekaan.
“The purchase and installation of the new irradiator is another sign of how seriously our Government takes biosecurity.”
The SIT facility at Port Augusta can produce 50 million sterile Queensland fruit flies each week at full operation. The facility is supported by SITPlus, a national $45 million research and development partnership.
For more information about keeping South Australia fruit fly free visit www.pir.sa.gov.au/fruit_fly