Fruit Fly Baiting

APC Community Fruit Flying Baiting Committee

This Committee is currently in recess.
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The Mediterranean fruit fly is a major pest for Western Australian commercial and non-commercial fruit producers. The Commission become involved with fruit fly baiting schemes following changes to the Plant Diseases Act that resulted in the suspension of public funded fruit fly baiting through the Agricultural Protection Board. At the request of the Department of Agriculture the Commission agreed to take on the responsibility of establishing community based schemes under Section 12.1(b) of the Act.

Subsequently in 1996/97 two APC community fruit fly baiting committees were established in the Katanning and Bridgetown-Greenbushes town sites.

However after the committees were established the Commission received contrary advice that the Act did not provide for non-commercial fruit producers and consequently the provisions of the Act could not be enforced. To overcome this anomaly the Act was amended in 2000 when section 19a was inserted.

The amendment provided for non-commercial producers in relation to the control of prescribed pests and diseases. In September 2000 Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis Capitata) was prescribed under Section 19a.

APC Bridgetown-Greenbushes Fruit Fly Baiting Committee

For a number of reasons the services provided by both APC fruit fly baiting committees have been suspended. In Bridgetown the Shire Council could not agree to support a town-baiting scheme and without administrative support that a local government can provide the APC Bridgetown-Greenbushes Fruit Fly Committee found it impractical to provide the service. The Committee suspended operations in 1998.

APC Katanning Fruit Fly Baiting Committee

In Katanning the local government authority was highly supportive and for a time the APC Katanning Fruit Fly Baiting Committee achieved excellent results with fruit fly all but eradicated townspeople were able to receive the full benefit of their backyard fruit trees. However because the collection of fee for service charges could not be enforced there were deficit problems. After conducting a survey in 2001 that revealed a mixed response by residents the Shire advised the Commission that it no longer wished to participate in the Scheme and would instead consider setting up its own voluntary baiting programme. The operations of the Katanning Committee were suspended in 2001. In the period of operation both the Department of Agriculture and Commission met the Committee deficits.

Establishment of new committees

Currently the Commission has not received any community request to establish further fruit fly baiting schemes though a number of inquiries have been received from Shires in the South West region.

However, having overcome the early inadequacies of the Act the Commission is now in a position to set up fruit fly baiting schemes that provide all the benefits of the APC Act to non-commercial or back yard fruit tree owners. Therefore the fee for service is compulsory and further the Plant Diseases Act, Section 17a (1) provides right of entry for any person engaged by an APC committee to bait fruit trees.

In view of past experience, the Commission will not consider setting up community fruit fly baiting schemes without first receiving the full support of the Shire. The Shire will be able to recover any administration costs incurred and there are two options on how the fee for service can be collected. With option one the fee for service is invoiced direct to rate payers with fruit trees. The second option is a simpler system, the APC charges the fee for service direct to the Shire, and the Shire includes the fee cost as part of the rates.