Growers’ e-bulletin – November 3, 2017


3 November, 2017


Banana concerns aired at national forum
New industrial manslaughter laws
Feral pig plague targeted
Banana Women’s Network launched
Cassowary Coast AGM
Panama survey
More reef grants
Bananas back at Murwillumbah Show
National AgDay
Weight Check-in
Bananas fuel fitness
TR4 shed posters
Panama education
Smart Farm grants
Rural women grants

TR4 raised with government decision makers 

ABGC CEO Jim Pekin presented a keynote talk on Panama TR4 to the 2017 National Biosecurity Forum in Canberra yesterday.

He raised the challenges confronting the banana industry from the disease and noted that continued support of the industry was required from both the Australian and Queensland Governments.

The ABGC has also developed a three-point plan for parties and candidates for the Queensland Election. All relate to funding for TR4.  The ABGCs Policy Positions are on feral pig management, the Biosecurity Queensland-run TR4 Program and on funding for more applied TR4 research.

Jail time for industrial manslaughter

Queensland Parliament has passed tough new industrial manslaughter laws, meaning employers found culpable in workplace fatalities, will now face severe jail time and penalties.

Under the new legislation, employers found guilty of industrial manslaughter will face 20 years in jail, with fines of up to $10 million for corporate offenders.

All businesses are urged to review their current workplace safety systems, with a focus on the safe operation of vehicles and machinery.

Feral pig plagues targeted

Banana growers in the Tully Valley have joined forces to cull feral pig numbers in the area, funding a concentrated aerial shooting program.

In the past two months, more than 470 pigs have been destroyed on rural properties in the area – including on land located near the two known TR4 infected properties.

All animals that are destroyed are left on the properties where they were targeted. No animals are removed, to reduce the risk of spreading disease.

Banana Women’s Network launched

What a fantastic show of support at the official launch of the ABGC’s new Banana Women’s Network at Innisfail last Friday night.

Funded by the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, the network was created to recognise the important role women play within the banana industry.

Members of the network will keep in touch via a private Facebook page and will meet about three times a year to share ideas and experiences with like-minded women who understand the industry.

The meetings will feature guest speakers, training and cover any issues identified by the group. To find out more contact Dale Bennett ( or Sarah Simpson (

(Pictured below – left to right – some of the inaugural members of the Banana Women’s Network, Alicia Johnston, Sharon Collins, Susan Campbell (in front) Jenny Crema, Blaise Cini and Zanelle Collins.) 

Cassowary Coast AGM

The Annual General Meeting of the Cassowary Coast Banana Growers’ Association will be held at the Silkwood Hotel on Thursday, November 9, from 7pm.

The AGM will be followed by the association’s general monthly meeting.

Panama disease survey reminder

Make sure you have your say!

If you have been chosen to participate in the Panama TR4 Program communication and community engagement activity survey, remember to get your response in soon.

Your feedback is important to assist the Program to develop information and communication activities relevant to your needs and for the benefit of the wider industry to help manage Panama disease tropical race 4.

Check your inbox or your junk mail for an email from Kantar Public or complete the survey online here

Get in quick for new reef grants

Applications for incentive grant funding is now open to banana growers in north Queensland to assist in the improvement of on-farm sediment and nutrient farming practices. But, funding is limited!

The funding is being offered through the Australian Government’s Reef Trust III Program and is available for a range of practice changes including; farm layout mapping; equipment to better maintain ground cover; installation of sediment trapping structures; earth works to slow the movement of surface water; and the installation of manual or automated fertigation systems.

To be eligible for incentive grant funding growers need to have completed their Banana Environmental BMP.

Applications for incentive grants close on 30 November 2017. For more info please contact Robert or Sarah on (07) 4015 2797.

Bananas are back at the Murwillumbah Show!

The Murwillumbah Show kicked off today and the Tweed Brunswick Banana Growers’ Association is excited to announce that the Banana Competition is back on the program after a one-year hiatus.

Entries in the banana exhibit were received yesterday, with a prize pool of about $3500 on offer thanks to regular sponsors and a bunch of new ones coming on board.

The National Bunchy Top Project will also have a display, aimed at helping to educate local backyard growers on what is a potentially industry-threatening disease.

Fruit and vegetables donated to the BGA will be auctioned at 5pm tomorrow, November 4 in the pavilion, with all proceeds donated to local charities.

National Agriculture Day

The banana industry will be represented at a National Agriculture Day in Anzac Park, Innisfail, on Tuesday November 21.

The ABGC will host a booth on the day, which will involve representatives from various agriculture industries and industry partners, showcasing events happening within each sector.

National AgDay will be celebrated at events right across the country on November 21.

The day is designed to celebrate Australian agriculture, including its significant contribution to the nation’s economy and social makeup.

The Innisfail AgDay will be held from 10am-2pm and will include a free sausage sizzle.

Weight check goes bananas

Weight Check 2017 – an initiative of Australian Bananas – encourages everyday Aussies to take a moment to check their weight, to help stop weight creeping on, and this week 4,000 members of the Woolworths head office staff got to join in the action.

During the weigh-in, booths were set up for people to weigh themselves and delicious bananas were handed out, thanks to Warwick from Woolworths and Brad from Mackays.

The next weigh-in will involve Qantas staff at their head office!

Bananas fuel fitness campaign

Australian Bananas’ current ‘Out of Home’ media campaign has bananas advertised in gyms nationally.

The ads show the perfect way to refuel after your workout is with a banana or by whipping up a cool banana smoothie.

Fitness First provided a free-of-charge back cover ad in their magazine, and Bondi fitness influencer Carla De vaumas (pictured below) loved it so much she posted it on Instagram to her almost 7,000 followers.

Disease life cycle shed posters still available

Biosecurity Queensland has advised that the response for shed posters depicting the life cycle of Panama disease tropical race 4 has been overwhelming!

If you’d like a free poster (there are plenty in stock) contact Rachel Densmore at the Panama TR4 Program with your name and postal address via email or by phoning (07) 4091 8140.

Panama Ed in your shed

Would you like your workers to learn more about Panama disease tropical race 4 but you’re short on time?

The Panama TR4 Program is rolling out Panama education and information sessions for growers and farm workers on-site, to suit grower and worker needs. They can visit you at your shed during a lunch break or over smoko to provide information and resources about the disease, and how best to protect your farm and mitigate the risk of spread.

Contact Panama TR4 Program community engagement officer Rachel Densmore via email or by phoning (07) 4091 8140.

All Program officers follow strict hygiene and biosecurity procedures. No vehicles will be brought onto properties.

$50 million for smart farm management

Grants of up to $100,000 are available to farmers and industry groups for sustainable and innovative land management changes, under the $50 million Smart Farms Small Grants scheme.

Offered through the National Landcare Program, the grants will assist growers to adopt on-the-ground practice changes that improve the condition of soil, vegetation and biodiversity.

For more information go to –

Grants available for farming women

Women & Leadership Australia is administering a national initiative to support the development of female leaders across Australia’s farming and agriculture sector.

The initiative is providing women with grants of between $3,000-$8,000 to enable participation in a range of leadership development programs.

The scholarship funding is provided with the specific intent of providing powerful and effective development opportunities for farming and agriculture sector women; however the funding is strictly limited and must be allocated prior to the end of 2017.

For more information and to register your interest prior to December 15, go to

Hort Innovation

This e-bulletin is produced by the Australian Banana Growers’ Council as a part of the Communications Project for the Banana Industry funded by HIA Ltd using the banana industry R&D levy and matched funds from the Australian Government.

Contact Details
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