Yamba Quarantine Station

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (15:42): I rise today to highlight the 60th anniversary of the Yamba quarantine station and the critical role it has played in South Australia. I note that the member for Chaffey in another place is marking this anniversary with a motion in the House of Assembly.

It is appropriate to acknowledge the 60th anniversary of the Yamba quarantine station and the role it has played in protecting South Australia from biosecurity threats, including fruit fly, phylloxera, exotic, invasive weeds and nursery material. It is also appropriate to highlight the ongoing fruit fly threat to the Riverland in South Australia from interstate, to note the importance of the Yamba quarantine station operating 24/7 and also to ensure that everyone is aware of the importance of keeping fruit fly out of South Australia and adhering to the strict restrictions in place for bringing fruit, vegetables, other plants and plant products into the state.

The first South Australian quarantine roadblock was established at Yamba in 1957, primarily as a response to the discovery of an outbreak of Queensland fruit fly at Mildura. In 1965, a boom gate was erected across the Sturt Highway at Yamba to better control traffic and, by 1997, the Yamba roadblock operated full-time throughout the year to monitor traffic from the Murray-Darling Basin interstate.

Fresh fruit and fruiting vegetables cannot be carried from interstate into South Australia, unless they comply with importing requirements. Commercial importers generally need a plant health certificate or a plant health assurance certificate to bring these items into the state. Uncertified fresh fruit and fruiting vegetables (those generally carried by the travelling public) cannot be brought into the state. Fines and penalties apply if people breach these regulations and requirements. Quarantine stations, signs and disposal bins are located across the state, including at road entry points, airports and rail terminals. There are also random roadblocks conducted by Biosecurity SA.

I well remember in the late days of the last Liberal government that certainly a lot of work was done towards establishing a regime of random roadblocks in different places around the road network in South Australia. That stalled after the change of government. I remember a number of exchanges in this place with the Hon. Mr Holloway to make sure that those random roadblocks were established.

Permanent quarantine stations are located on the Sturt Highway at Yamba between Mildura and Renmark, the Eyre Highway at Ceduna, the Barrier Highway at Oodla Wirra, and the Mallee Highway between Murrayville and Pinnaroo. There are a number of other disposal bins that are situated on major highways in other parts of the state.

I also remember the occasion when the current government threatened to take away the 24/7 quarantine coverage at Yamba and that was strongly resisted by people from the Riverland. I also think that we need to increase the amount of random roadblock occurrences and increase the imposition of penalties on people who are caught bringing fruit into this state. The fruit fly free status of the Riverland is an export market advantage that must be cherished and preserved.

I also note that in recent times, a landmark that would be well known to many people at Yamba, not far from the quarantine station, the iconic Dunlop tyre, which actually welcomes people to a phylloxera-free Riverland, has just celebrated the 30th anniversary of its erection. I think most people would know this structure. It was created by Mr Neil Webber of Webber Enterprises in 1987 and funded by Dunlop Australia and the Riverland Tourism Association. It is still there. It is one that I think most people would recognise when they drive between Mildura and Renmark.