• Liberals cuts have put industry, jobs and economy at risk
• Hodgman ignoring the urgency of the fruit fly emergency
• Majority Labor Government will immediately act to address emergency

A Majority Labor Government will immediately take control of Will Hodgman’s fruit fly catastrophe.

Labor Leader Rebecca White said the Liberals were failing to treat the emergency which threatens Tasmania’s multi-million dollar horticulture industry with the urgency it required.

Ms White said Labor would immediately establish a Fruit Fly Taskforce, bringing together the industry, emergency services and government to lead the response to Tasmania’s first fruit fly incursion in a century.

She said it was imperative that the Biosecurity Tasmania frontline was boosted as the fruit fly emergency escalated day to day.

‘Will Hodgman’s million dollar biosecurity cut combined with the cuts by the Federal Liberal Government needs to be addressed now that the emergency poses a major threat to the state’s horticulture industry,” Ms White said.

“Will Hodgman’s response has been severely lacking and it is clear he has lost control with fruit fly larvae now being found on supermarket shelves.

“The hard working staff of Biosecurity Tasmania are doing everything they can, but are limited due to Will Hodgman’s cuts.

“Labor has been listening to industry and if Tasmania has a Majority Labor Government in eight days’ time, we will take immediate action.”

Labor will:

 Establish a Fruit Fly Taskforce including government, industry and emergency service personnel to lead the response
 Call for increased biosecurity support from other states to ensure a highly visible biosecurity workforce within the control areas
 Doubling the support package to primary producers to $4 million
 Call on the Turnbull Government to match Labor’s financial commitment
 Staff all checkpoints on all major arterial roads in and out of control zones
 Establish stronger border control checks for all fruit importations
 Enlist the services of SES volunteers and other volunteer emergency services personnel to support the work of Biosecurity Tasmania, including authorising those people who work alongside Biosecurity Tasmania officials, doubling the frontline presence
 Fund a statewide awareness campaign
 Ensure all flights into Tasmania are checked

“By increasing the frontline biosecurity presence, Labor will ensure all incoming fruit is properly inspected.

“Ït will also allow staff to be freed up to inspect every flight and TT Line arrival.

“I have written to interstate governments to request their help to send biosecurity officers to Tasmania because we need their expertise to deal with an emergency Tasmania has not had to deal with in 100 years.

“These actions are in addition to the State and Federal Labor commitments totalling $5.7 million to employ an additional 20 biosecurity officers.

“Will Hodgman’s fruit fly catastrophe demands an urgent response and we have not seen that response from the Liberals despite calls from the TFGA and industry.

“Our farmers have worked too hard to develop a Tasmanian brand to have it lost by Will Hodgman’s unnecessary cuts and loss of control.

“Where Will Hodgman will not act, Labor will to protect Tasmanian interests.”
Rebecca White MP Labor Leader 22 February 2018