Wednesday, 3 June 2020 HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY Page 1345
Second Reading Adjourned debate on second reading.
(Continued from 8 April 2020.)
The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (11:23): I commend this bill to the house.
The Hon. G.G. BROCK (Frome) (12:14): First up, I will be supporting the member for Florey’s amendment. I reassure everybody in this house that, irrespective of the political allegiance, I think everybody in this house here and the state agree with the state being fruit fly free. We can have the debate about the issues and all of that but, at times, we have this blame game going on about one side or the other side and things like that about the history and so forth.
I think we have to understand that South Australia’s fruit fly free status is very important. My concern is that I have had quite a few people come to me—even in Port Pirie—who have come through the Yamba facility and, irrespective of the position, and that there is plenty of signage there, is it the best opportunity and is it in the best location? We have to ensure that we review whatever we are doing.
I am sure the minister is taking this whole issue on board. People are coming into South Australia and bypassing the Yamba inspection point. I have not been there so I can only take what people are telling me. I understand it is inside the border. We need to look at getting it right on the border to make certain there is nothing coming in.
The minister has indicated he is investigating the policy about the Ceduna opportunity. I would hope that we can have checkpoints at all entry points into South Australia, whether they are coming in from the east, the west or the north. We have to, because fruit can come in via two or three states with people if they have a lot of stuff in their caravans, etc. They may go from New South Wales to Victoria to Queensland on a trip and have it in their fridges.
Whether the bins are in the right location is something that the minister, this government and everybody need to look at. If they are not in the best location with the best signage to make everybody aware to dispose of their fruit to ensure there are no opportunities for it to come in, then we have to change that wording. I appreciate everybody is trying to eliminate that, but my concern is: if the system is working, why do we have so many outbreaks in metropolitan Adelaide? That worries me because once a fruit fly infestation gets in, it is hard to eliminate.
People talk about the control points and things like that, but I will leave it there. The member for Florey has indicated there are no bins at Ceduna. I understand from a conversation some time ago, and I stand corrected, that the Mediterranean fruit fly could come in from Western Australia. If, for argument’s sake, that is coming in, we need to not only have a policy and a task force to look at the opportunities; let’s put something in place now. I do not care if it is only temporary because while we are debating it, while we are arguing about the best location and going through policy, fruit is still coming in here. The minister has clarified that there is healthy debate in this chamber, and I welcome constant and healthy debate about any issues. He indicated that South Australia is getting pressure from the east and the west. He also indicated he is seeking a brief on a change of policy for Ceduna.
I know the minister is very dedicated to what he is doing and he will take it on board but, please, minister, accelerate that policy to make certain we get something at Ceduna because we have a lot of traffic coming in, and with the way COVID-19 is going, once the borders are open, I believe we are going to have lots more people travelling within Australia and travelling interstate instead of going overseas, so let’s look at the long-term opportunity to eliminate whatever opportunities people have to bring fruit in.
As I said, in this chamber we have lots of blame games. Unfortunately, I know that is part of the hustle and bustle of politics here, but we are all here for one reason: we are here to make certain we get the best facilities and the best processes in place. Whether it is with fruit fly or any other opportunities, we need to continually review any processes done by the state government of the day. I keep saying to people, ‘Everything that I do today, I will review tomorrow, and if I can do it better then we do that.’ I know everybody here does that in their own lives.
When messages come from the non-government side, sometimes they are not taken on by the government. That works on both sides, so let’s be honest about that. So let’s take it on board and, if a suggestion comes from the non-government side, then say, ‘That’s a good idea. I will take that on board.’ I am sure you will get more kudos from the community out there for taking something on board than for playing the political game.
The minister indicated that he has some legal advice initiating the zero tolerance. I will be interested if I can get a copy of that policy from the minister, but we have to be certain that we have the best opportunities. I travel a fair bit and I have been around a lot longer than a lot of people in this chamber, maybe not in politics, but I have travelled all over South Australia and all over Australia. I am very passionate about what we do there and I am very passionate about our industries.
In my position as a minister in the previous government, as with the current minister, I took on board the importance of keeping everything free of any diseases. We have to make certain that we look at those opportunities. I am only too happy to put my suggestions forward, along with others on this side, to the minister. I know the minister very well and I know he will take those suggestions on board and give them consideration.
We have these facilities, and the Port Augusta facility is absolutely brilliant, but my concern is that the minister has indicated that we started off with 27 tonne of fruit at Yamba and we are down to I think 13 tonnes, but I stand to be corrected. So there is still a lot of fruit getting through, and that is the question that we have to understand: even though it is only 50 per cent of what it was originally, how can that 50 per cent still get through? My concern is how much is getting through that we do not know about? It is getting into the community, whether that be metropolitan Adelaide or other regional communities. Remember that it is not only metropolitan Adelaide that can be affected by this. There are other fruit opportunities at Wirrabara and places like that. If they get fruit fly up there, again, that decimates their income, which affects their abilities.
I certainly support the discussion on this. I know the member for MacKillop has a very strong motion, but if we can widen that out to include an opportunity to look at everything and congratulate everybody on the journey going forward, whether from this government or the previous government. As the member for Giles indicated, the fruit fly status policy has been in this state for many, many years, which has included opportunities from Liberal governments and Labor governments, so let’s acknowledge everybody’s work up until now.
Let’s look at the opportunities to improve what we have, take it on board and try to eliminate that 13 tonnes that the minister has indicated is currently being collected at Yamba. It may be being disposed of illegally or unintentionally, but I am also concerned about the amount of fruit that gets through there undetected and gets back into not only metropolitan Adelaide but also regional South Australia. I commend the amendment from the member Florey.