Stephen Lowe, Chair
Impractical and costly provisions within proposed new Reef Regulations continue to be a focus for ABGC and industry at large.
At the board meeting on June 20, directors and senior ABGC staff met with three senior representatives from the Department of Environment and Science (DES) to discuss serious grower concerns over the proposed new regulations.
The board raised a number of issues including; nutrient and sediment provisions; restrictions on new developments; the inclusion of yield in the Nutrient Management Plan; leaf testing; and keeping invoices for fertiliser purchases for six years.
Since this meeting, negotiations with government have continued in earnest and there have been some positive steps towards designing a more practical and industry-acceptable proposal.
On page 11 of this magazine you can read a more comprehensive update on where these discussions were at, at the time of going to print.
We still have a fair way to go, however ABGC is determined to continue to demonstrate to government, areas within the proposal that are impractical and threaten to severely restrict economic growth. We are hopeful that these negotiations will continue to bring about positive outcomes until satisfactory resolutions are found.
I’d like to thank those growers who have assisted in this process by providing valuable feedback to ABGC and government representatives directly.
We will continue to consult with growers as these negotiations continue and provide regular updates on any significant outcomes.
Feral pig eradication
Another important issue, updated on Page 7 of the magazine, is the ongoing feral pig eradication program in the Tully Valley.
This program has been running since July 2017 and in May of this year, the number of pigs culled from high risk TR4 zones surpassed 4000. On July 29, this number sat at 4388.
This is a massive effort and is a credit to ABGC deputy chair Leon Collins and professional shooter Trevor Williamson who co-ordinate this program.
While the majority of eradication is achieved through aerial shooting, growers are also playing a significant role in reducing pig numbers through on-farm actions, including ground shooting, baiting and trapping.
I think it’s safe to say that the 2019 Banana Congress held on the Gold Coast in May was a huge success.
I’d like to thank all those growers who attended the event. Your attendance, coupled with a fantastic two-day grower-focussed program, helped to make it one of the best we’ve had.
It would be remiss of me not to also say a big thank you to all other delegates who came along to Congress, as well as our valued sponsors, who help make Congress possible.
Feedback post-Congress has been extremely positive and I hope the event will continue to grow and be even more successful next time around.