Growers’ e-bulletin – April 10, 2019


April 10, 2019


Queensland Reef Regs 
Reef 2050 website relaunched
 ‘Our shout’ comp for Congress!
Horticulture Award – Overtime for casuals
National Banana Day – May 1
Panama TR4 research under way
Future TR4 funding
Churchill Fellowships closing soon
Banana Congress Supporters
Australian Bananas magazine 


Queensland ‘reef regs’ – Committee Hearing


The Australian Banana Growers’ Council appeared yesterday at a parliamentary committee hearing in Cairns on the new Queensland water quality regulations.

Chair Stephen Lowe spoke on behalf of growers, highlighting some of the concerns around the proposed minimum standards. 

You can find background, and read ABGC’s submission to the committee, here.

At the public hearing, he spoke about the enormous burden of regulation that farming family businesses are already coping with, as well as the fact that more evidence is needed to support any minimum standards. Negotiations with the government are ongoing on this issue.

Mr Lowe also emphasised that banana growers do not wish to harm the Reef, and many have already implemented strong practices on-farm to improve water quality. 

Ideally the minimum standards would align very closely with the BMP standards so that growers can easily integrate them into their farming practices. 


Reef 2050 website re-launched

A new Reef 2050 Water Quality Improvement Plan website has launched, featuring a range of videos, podcasts and other resources for growers and other people working in the Reef space.

You can check out the new website here – keep an eye out for the podcast with ABGC’s very own extension officer Dale Bennett!


Our shout at Congress next month!

Yes, drinks are on us for one lucky Congress attendee!

If you’re a grower and register before May 1 – which just happens to be National Banana Day – you’ll go in the draw to win a $250 bar tab to spend at Congress.* 

If you’d prefer, there’s also the option of spending your $250 voucher on a wide range of services at Royal Pines Resort, including food, the hotel spa and entertainment.
The winner will be drawn at the Welcome Drinks at Congress, from 5pm on May 22.

Register now! 

*T&Cs: Competition closes midnight, April 30 and is open to all growers who register. Voucher is for drinks, or agreed Royal Pines Resort services only – it cannot be claimed in cash or spent externally. Voucher or bar tab must be spent during the Banana Congress (May 22-24). 

A big thank you to all our Congress sponsors for helping us ensure this event is a success – you can read about some of them further down in this e-bulletin.


Horticulture Award – Overtime for Casuals

Changes to the Horticulture Award, which give new overtime provisions for casual workers, come into effect in the first full pay period on or after April 15.

Details of this decision can be found here.

Some of the key points are:

·         Casual employees who work over 304 ordinary hours over 8 weeks (38 hours a week) will be entitled to overtime.

·         There will also be penalties paid for working more than 12 hours a day and a 15 per cent ‘loading’ on night shifts. 

More information, including how to get help, can be found in the Horticulture section of the Fair Work Australia website.


National Banana Day

There’s a less than a month until Australia gets behind its favourite fruit for National Banana Day (May 1).

You can get behind this great initiative from Australian Bananas in a number of ways:

·         If you haven’t already, share your #ShedSelfie on social media or email – an easy way to give an insight into the work that goes into producing our much-loved bananas.

·         Head along to the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour on May 1 for a special event. If you’re not in the area, join in by snapping a photo of your biggest or best banana hand or bunch – the kind you might normally enter in a local show! You can send your pictures to Marketing Manager Tate, via the email above.

·         Wear yellow on May 1!

Australian Bananas is also currently running a competition looking for Australia’s first Banana-ologist, which you can check out on their Facebook page.


Panama TR4 research underway

It’s not too late to have your say on the challenges and impacts of Panama TR4 on you and your farm – your valuable input will help Biosecurity Queensland and the ABGC to assist you and the broader banana industry in controlling and containing the disease.

Proof Research, a fully independent, Queensland-based research organisation, is holding interviews with growers in Tully, Mareeba and Innisfail.

All participants and their responses remain anonymous and the data only used to inform future engagement strategies to benefit the industry. North Queensland growers who participate are also compensated for their time.

If you’d like to participate, contact Proof Research on 0419 706 801 or by email


 Future TR4 funding

The Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) welcomed a $12.1 million Queensland Government funding announcement to continue to fund the control and containment of Panama disease tropical race 4.

The Queensland Government recently advised the ABGC that it would continue to fund the existing TR4 management Program until 30 June 2019. However, from 1 July onwards, government funding for the program would only continue under a cost-sharing arrangement with industry. Read the ABGC’s full media statement here.


Churchill Fellowship applications closing soon

If there’s an issue within the banana industry that you’re passionate and want the chance to explore, consider applying for a Churchill Fellowship!

The aim of the fellowship is to encourage innovation and transformation though the provision of a full paid Churchill Scholarship (valued at up to $30,000) via international travel and research investigation.

Applications close on April 30 and details can be found here. If you’d like more information, or even assistance in getting your application in, please contact Jane Wightman, Business Development Manager-Leadership at Hort Innovation:

Thank you to our Banana Congress sponsors!

Nutrano Produce Group on board for 2019

Orora and JAT continue to support banana growers

Orora and JAT Refrigerated Road Services are pleased to be exhibiting at the 2019 Australian Banana Industry Congress. Come visit stands 27 (Orora) and 28 (JAT) to learn more about our corrugated packaging and refrigerated transportation solutions respectively.

As one of the largest suppliers of corrugated packaging to the Australian banana industry, Orora has an extensive suite of packaging solutions for fresh produce to ensure our customers’ specific requirements are met. Our custom banana cartons, available in one and two piece solutions, come in various sizes and print options to meet our customer need for optimum transport and outstanding presentation.

Orora and JAT continue to be strong supporters of the banana industry and have partnered to supply an end-to-end solution for packaging and transportation.

As part of AHG Refrigerated Logistics (AHG RL), Australia’s largest provider of refrigerated logistics solutions, JAT and AHG RL have strategically located warehousing throughout Australia in every state capital city. Through this partnership, Orora and JAT can give banana growers the confidence that their produce will arrive at the desired location in ideal condition, just as it left the farm gate.

For more information on packaging, please contact Glenn Cox on +61 427 821 181 or email For transportation enquiries, please contact Anthony Teeuwsen on +61 488 528 777 or email

Australian Bananas magazine

The next edition of Australian Bananas will be hitting your mailbox shortly!

You can expect to read about Coffs growers continuing their bypass battle, the next generation of growers in Far North Queensland and find out how to kick start your biosecurity measures for under $1000. All that, plus plenty of R&D news, industry profiles, social pictures and more!


Contact Details
It is important that ABGC is advised if you know of growers who are not receiving these e-bulletins or the Australian Banana magazine. We may have out of date email or postal addresses for these growers. Please email any updated contact details to:

Also, it is important for membership purposes that growers advise ABGC if they change trading name or their agent (wholesaler) or add one, and also to let their agent know.