New phase for TR4 effort

Six months after the March confirmation that TR4 is present in Australia’s major banana-growing region, efforts to combat the banana plant disease are moving from the emergency phase into a longer-term managed response.

As part of the transition, occurring in September, response manager Biosecurity Queensland (BQ) will move most of its TR4 response work to North Queensland from its Brisbane State Coordination Centre.
The response will be managed at the Panama Response Centre at Moresby.
In a statement, BQ said: “The objectives of this ongoing program of work will include the control and containment of the disease and the minimisation of its long-term impacts on the Australian banana industry, the regional economy and local communities.”
BQ has identified four objectives and associated activities which can be summarised as:
  • further surveillance and tracing to establish the distribution of TR4
  • quarantine and movement control to contain the pathogen to infested sites
  • on-farm biosecurity programs
  • support for owners of infested properties.
BQ said there would be 79 staff in response team during the Managed Response phase – 38 directly employed and 41 contractors.
In September, BQ said its surveillance staff had completed 779 property visits, completed 233 property surveys and taken a total of 1345 diagnostic samples.
Of the samples taken, as at mid-September only 13 were confirmed as positive for TR4 and all were from the same quarantined Tully Valley farm.