Federal Member for Calare and shadow minister for agriculture and food security John Cobb has backed calls from local apple growers for the government to rethink its pending ban on another fruit fly chemical, amid fears it could devastate the local industry.
Mr Cobb met with Nashdale apple grower Peter Darley to discuss the impact of the government’s decision to ban the chemical Fenthion - the last remaining option to control fruit fly.
“This is another misguided and ill conceived decision made by a government completely ignorant about the agricultural industry,” Mr Cobb said.
“The Labor Government has not considered what its likely decision to ban Fenthion will do to local growers like Peter, and for the industry as a whole.
“This chemical has been around for 50 years and has not caused any major problems, and banning it would be devastating for our apple and cherry and export market, because most countries simply won’t accept produce that could have fruit fly.
“Worst of all – the government has no hard evidence on which to base its decision, and has left farmers with no alternative chemical to use to fight fruit fly.”
Mr Cobb said the government’s claims the industry have had two years to prepare for the ban is an insult, and shows how out of touch this government is, especially when it comes to agriculture.
“It can take ten years and tens of millions of dollars to come up with an alternative chemical in these circumstances,” Mr Cobb said.
“The government’s suggestion two years was sufficient is outrageous and, frankly, an insult to the hard working growers in Calare, and the wider apple and cherry industry.”
Mr Cobb today joined local growers in calling on the Federal Labor Government to rethink its decision to ban Fenthion.
“The government must stop, do its research and think carefully about what this decision could do to our local industry,” Mr Cobb said.
“The lack of interest and support for the horticultural industry, and agriculture as a whole, by Minister Ludwig, is appalling. He has dismissed industry concerns.”