Growers’ e-bulletin – December 16


16 December, 2020


QLD Seasonal Workers trial extended
Reminder: Sourcing SWP workers correctly 
Banana Jobs Noticeboard
Have your say on R&D levy investments
How are you spreading your fertiliser?
New biosecurity awareness videos 
National Lost Crop Register
Incentives to work on QLD farms 
ABGC looking for extension officer 
   AgSkills2.0 available for NSW growers


Seasonal Worker Program trial extended

The Queensland Government has extended the Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Worker Program trial until March 4 2021. 

In October, an initial group of 151 workers from Tonga became the first seasonal workers to successfully complete on-farm quarantining on an Emerald grape farm and with no significant issues identified, the Government has decided the trial can continue.

In the trial’s initial phase, four flights of about 600 workers would be flown into Queensland to help address labour shortages in North Queensland, Central Queensland and the Wide Bay-Burnett area. Already about 450 workers have arrived to pick a variety of fruit, or work in major processing facilities. 

The Government acknowledged that demand for workers far exceeded available seats on the first flights. 

The extended trial will determine whether resuming the PLS/SWP program permanently is feasible.


Reminder: Sourcing SWP workers correctly 

There have been some reports of Seasonal Workers leaving their Approved Employer and approaching other farms directly for work. The consequences of not going through the appropriate process can be quite severe. 

If you are an Approved Employer with the Seasonal Worker Program, you must hold a Temporary Activities Sponsorship issued by the Department of Home Affairs (DHA). As part of their visa conditions, a seasonal worker can only work for their Approved Employer while in Australia. While they can have their employment officially transferred it needs prior approval from the Department of Education Skills and Employment and is only actioned by DHA for specific reasons.

While worker shortages are critical, the Department and DHA strongly discourages employers approaching potential employees who haven’t got appropriate approval – it could result in the workers losing their visa protections and even deportation from Australia. 


Have you posted on the Banana Jobs Noticeboard?

If you are looking to fill positions on your farm, make sure you add your details to the Banana Jobs Vacancy Noticeboard. The Noticeboard is being promoted widely, particularly towards school leavers and university students, who may be looking for extended periods of work over holidays or gap years. 

More information at:

You can also check out the ABGC’s first promotional video, which has now clocked up almost 30,000 views, here.


Have your say on Research & Development banana levy investments

Banana growers and others in the supply chain are invited to join the banana Research & Development Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (R&D SIAP). 

Panel members discuss and make decisions around research and development opportunitiesand levy investments to benefit the industry.

This is a great opportunity to use your experience to shape the future of Australian banana growing. 

More info? Contact Hort Innovation’s Industry Strategic Partner for the banana industry, Georgia Sheil on 0487 362 717 or via email at

You can apply at the form on the Hort Innovation website. Applications close on 13 January 2021.


Reef Regulations in the Wet Tropics – how are you spreading your fertiliser?

From 1 December 2020, banana growers in the Wet Tropics must apply fertiliser to the banana row ONLY.  You cannot broadcast fertiliser across the inter-row.

If you are using an older-style spreader that applies the fertiliser to the inter-row, the ABGC may be able to provide advice and financial assistance to upgrade to a new spreader, make modifications to your existing spreader or move to a fertigation system.  Give the BMP team a call on 0447 000 203 or email


All I Want For Christmas is Biosecurity Awareness

Ahead of the Christmas tourist rush, Far North Queensland banana growers have joined forces with Biosecurity Queensland and the Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) to spread the Panama TR4 message through a series of videos.

The series, titled ‘Get in the Zone’, features growers sharing their story about what biosecurity is, and how everyone can play their part in protecting farms.

The videos target holiday makers who might pull up for a photo, as well as contractors and other visitors who might think it’s okay to enter a farm without seeking permission and following biosecurity protocols.

Watch the videos at and the Australian Banana Grower’s Council Facebook page.


National Lost Crop Register

Growers are encouraged to record any crop losses in a National Lost Crop Register, officially launched by the National Farmers’ Federation Horticulture Council* today.

The NFF will track and report the losses, using the Register as evidence to inform decision-making and improve the ability of industry to collectively advocate for greater government intervention where necessary.

Over 30 growers have already reported crop losses, worth more than $22 million at the farm gate. 

The records can be made anonymously, and will be used to publish a running tab as the losses mount towards Christmas and beyond. It’s vital that political leaders and governments understand what’s happening on the ground.

To record your crop losses, visit:

*The Australian Banana Growers’ Council is part of the Horticulture Council.

More incentives for farm work in Queensland

In addition to the Federal Government’s offer of up to $6000 for Australian jobseekers to relocate for farming jobs, the Queensland Government has expanded a program that includes up to $1500 in travel and accommodation.

The Back to Work in Agriculture Incentive Scheme began in the Wide Bay and Darling Downs regions, but has now opened up to other farming areas of Queensland.

The Scheme encourages people to take a working holiday in places they may not have seen before.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries is managing this program and applications can be made through the Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority (QRIDA) application portal.

The criteria employees will need to meet is outlined in the guidelines.

Applications will close once all funding has been allocated, or before 30 June 2021.


Job Available: Extension Officer – South Johnstone

ABGC is looking for a new Extension Officer to work with banana growers to improve water quality through nutrient and sediment runoff reductions.  

The banana industry is committed to improving the quality of water entering the Great Barrier Reef by improving agricultural management practices in the reef catchments. In recent years banana growers have made significant changes to their production systems to minimise their impact on water quality. Working with growers to provide extension support is critical in achieving ongoing practice change.

For further information visit


AgSkilled 2.0 to drive innovation in NSW Production Horticulture

The NSW Government has committed $15 million over three years to upskill primary producers across a range of plant-based sectors through AgSkilled 2.0.

Funded training is available across a range of areas including business, production, safety and technology.

With a number of training courses approved within the NSW horticulture sector, Hort Innovation Regional Extension Manager (South-East) Adrian Englefield encourages all NSW horticulturalists who are interested in upskilling their employees through short-course vocational education and training to become involved in the program.

For further information please contact

·      Hort Innovation Regional Extension Manager – Adrian Englefield

P: 0427 143 709


·      or visit the AgSkilled 2.0 website.


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.