Growers’ e-bulletin – August 13, 2020


13 August, 2020


COVID Health Management Plan Template

Addressing seasonal worker shortage concerns


COVID-19 Health Management Plan Template

The Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) has today made the Government’s COVID-19 Health Management Plan Template easier for banana growers to complete.

The template and other forms to meet requirements of the Health Plan can be found on the ABGC’s website here 

The Seasonal Workers Health Management Plan Direction requires all growers who employ seasonal workers, including visa holders, to complete and lodge a COVID-19 health management plan with Queensland Health.

From next week (17 August) Queensland Government officers will be undertaking compliance checks across Far North Queensland assessing whether growers have adequate Health Plans in place.

Officers from the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and Workplace Health and Safety will target growers, businesses that provide transport services for seasonal workers and contract labour hire providers, in the Atherton Tablelands (from Monday) and in the Cassowary Coast (the following week).

Completed Health Management Plans are required to be submitted to

ABGC has developed two separate documents, available to assist growers to complete their individual Plans:

1.     A COVID-19 Workplace Health Management Plan Template (includes examples of actions to assist in meeting requirements and is the document that growers must lodge to 

2.     COVID-19 Farm Record Keeping forms to be referred to in Plans and used on farm as part of the requirements of the Plans.

A detailed FAQs about the management plan is available on the ABGC website here

ABGC’s detailed COVID-19 Guide for Banana Growers can be found here

If you are unsure of your requirements as an employer, you can find more information on the ABGC’s website or email


Federal Govt asked to address worker shortage concerns

ABGC has requested support from the Australian Government to address concerns over worker shortages due to COVID travel restrictions.

Banana farm employers of seasonal workers from Vanuatu advise that current staff who have extended their visas are very keen to return home to Vanuatu, to reconnect with their families, however travel restrictions are preventing this. ABGC is aware of the current trial in the NT, involving Vanuatu workers assisting with the mango harvest and would be keen for North Queensland banana farms to access workers in a similar way.

In regard to Working Holiday Makers, there is the prospect for many of these returning to their homes, cities or other regions soon; thereby creating severe staff shortages.

ABGC Members have also advised that many backpackers will have earned sufficient money in a few months’ time and could be looking to leave farm work, also creating shortages.

In last month’s submission to the Federal Parliamentary inquiry into the Working Holiday Maker Program, ABGC suggested Government initiatives for both backpackers and those from the pacific islands

ABGC has this week requested that the Australian Government:

1.     Consider allowing Pacific Islanders on SWP visas to enter the country via Queensland, similar to the recent trial in the NT. This would also allow access to workers on farms and enable those SWP visa holders in Australia now who wish to return to their homes, to do so.

2.     Consider incentives for WHM workers to stay in horticultural work and to include a further extension to existing WHM visa holders who are already in Australia.



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.