An interstate traveller has learnt the hard way it doesn't pay to bring prohibited fruit into South Australia receiving a conviction and a fine after challenging their expiation notice for breaking the state's strict biosecurity laws.
The 44-year-old from Griffith in New South Wales was this week found guilty in the Magistrates Court of bringing lemons into South Australia in contravention of the Plant Health Act 2009. The lemons were taken by biosecurity officials at the Yamba Quarantine Station in the Riverland. She received a conviction against her name and ordered to pay fines and costs of $796.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said it's disappointing to see people continue to bring fruit across the border.
"These laws are in place for a reason - to protect our farmers who work so hard to produce fresh fruit and vegetables as part of a $1.3 billion industry," said Minister Whetstone.
"There are zero strikes and zero excuses for bringing fruit and vegetables into South Australia. If travellers try to bring fruit or vegetables into South Australia or into a pest free area, they will receive a $375 fine. It is pleasing our strict biosecurity laws have stood up in court and this conviction should be a reminder to everyone to follow the rules or risk being penalised.
"Fruit fly is one of the world's most destructive pests and we continue to send the travelling public the strong message: don't ignore the signs. Bin fruit before the border or you'll pay for it. Our farmers, particularly those in the Riverland, enjoy premium markets overseas because South Australia is fruit fly free and we must do everything we can to protect this.
"Right now, we are responding to seven outbreaks across metropolitan Adelaide with 240 suburbs from Glenelg in the south west all the way to Elizabeth in the north and the foothills in the east under quarantine restrictions.
"Adelaide residents in the fruit fly quarantine zone also have to comply with strict requirements to make sure they don't bite into homegrown fruit to get a mouthful of maggots.If fruit fly were to become widespread in the fruit producing areas of the Adelaide Hills it could have devastating effects for our horticulture industry.
"The Marshall Liberal Government is using every tool at our disposal to eradicate this devastating plant pest. We have 250 PIRSA officers on the ground fighting the pest in Adelaide, baiting, spraying and releasing Sterile Insect Technology.
"These latest outbreaks at Pooraka and Campbelltown have meant that I am considering extending the zero-tolerance policy to the Ceduna quarantine station. This zero-tolerance approach on our eastern border has successfully limited the spread of Queensland fruit fly but with Mediterranean fruit fly traditionally coming from the west, it may be time for us to extend zero tolerance to Ceduna.
"While South Australia has a 100 per cent success rate in eradicating fruit fly, we want to keep it that way and we need travellers and residents to do the right thing."