Growers’ e-bulletin – Storm recovery & seasonal worker update


March 12, 2021


Storm recovery continues
Seasonal workers update
NSW: Nutrient analysis workshops
NextGen plant seed for succession
Banana levy reminder
Congress 2021  


Storm recovery continues

Disaster assistance update

The Australian Banana Growers’ Council continues to lobby both the Queensland and Australian Governments for grants to assist storm-hit growers.

The current Category B declaration means growers can apply for concessional loans of up to $250,000 to repair or replace damaged buildings or equipment affected by TC Niran, and subsidies of up to $5000 are available to assist with the freight costs. For more information and to apply:

·       Concessional loans: or free call 1800 623 946

·       Freight subsidies: visit the DAF website

To stay informed of the latest developments, and any future meetings or opportunities, please ensure you have registered your damage with the ABGC by emailing or calling 07 3278 4786.

Post-recovery agronomic assistance available to growers

If you or other banana growers would like DAF’s extension team to visit your farm and provide agronomic advice on managing your crop moving forward, please get in touch with Robert Mayers on 0467 960 412 or email to arrange a visit. 

Volunteers available to help clean-up

Members of local Far Northern outrigging clubs have offered to help growers in their storm clean ups.

Anyone who is in need of a hand to clear damaged paddocks should contact Matt Abbott on 0427 027 253 so working bees can be organised.

The Opal Packaging Company is also offering some of its casual workers to growers severely affected by storms to assist with cleaning up damaged crops, bunch covers, string etc. More details here.


Seasonal workers update

Queensland’s SWP/PLS is back – officially

The restart of the SWP/PLS in Queensland is no longer in a pilot phase. On March 3, the Minister announced on-farm quarantine would continue and small cohorts could also progress through hotel quarantine when there was capacity.

In addition, the Government is considering proposals for regional quarantine facilities.

South Australia to trial in-country quarantine

National Cabinet has agreed to pilot pre-departure quarantine arrangements for Pacific workers in their home countries. South Australia intends to opt in to this arrangement, while other states are still considering this option.

The ABGC has asked if the Queensland Government will consider opting-in, but at this stage has been told that Queensland remains focussed on on-farm quarantine and developing regional quarantine options.

The QLD Government has also stated that, if this is considered in the future, it will not impact on these current strategies. It will closely watch the outcomes of the South Australian trial.

Quarantining options

There are two quarantine options currently available to those seeking seasonal workers in Queensland: On-Farm Quarantine and Hotel Quarantine. If you need more information about these options, or the Queensland Government’s proposal for regional facilities, you can find it here.

For other information regarding seasonal workers, visit the dedicated ABGC page.


Soil and Tissue Nutrient Analysis Workshop

Free workshops are planned for growers in the Tweed and Coffs Harbour areas to help interpret the results of soil and tissue nutrient tests.

The workshops will be hosted by banana nutrition expert Dr John Armour and aim to improve understanding of these monitoring tools to help with fertilizer management.

·      Tweed River Jockey Club – March 18 – Arrive 2.45pm for 3pm-4.45pm

·      Coffs Harbour Showground – Norm Jordan Pavilion – March 19 – Arrive 1.45pm for 2pm-3.45pm

RSVP is not essential but would be appreciated. Contact Tom Flanagan via 0437 654 633 or View the full event flyer here.


NextGen – planting the seed for succession

When is the right time to start the conversation about farm succession and passing on the reins to the next generation?

Far North Queensland NextGen growers recently met for the first time in 2021, with succession planning being a key agenda item. Growers who attended heard from guest speakers Nick Birchley (Financial Councillor for the Rural Financial Counselling Service) and Alison Larard (Senior Beef Extension officer, DAF and a 2018 Nuffield Scholar) who generously shared their knowledge and experiences on farming succession with the group.

If you would like to know more about succession planning for your business, start by visiting the Better Bananas website where you will find more information about the meeting and Nick Birchley’s details.


Banana levy reminder

The ABGC has heard reports that some growers are still paying the EPPR Levy for the Freckle Response.

This levy was taken from 0.75c/kg to zero from 1 July 2019. Please check this aligns with your payment slips. 

Growers can also opt to pay the compulsory levy to DAWE’s Levy Revenue Service directly. More info:


Congress 2021

Showcase your research at Congress

The Banana Congress 2021 is again offering an exciting opportunity to present your science as either three-minute speed talks or display posters targeted to the audience of growers and industry stakeholders. These are the future adopters and end-users of technology developed by scientists. For more, jump over to the Congress website.

Still time to take advantage of early bird registrations

Join us in Cairns for a jam-packed event, filled with practical and inspirational speakers. You’ll also get the chance to hear from Outback Croc Wrangler Matt Wright at the 2021 Banana Ball.

If you are a grower and register before March 22, you won’t just save up to $115, you will also go into the draw to win back the cost of registration, accommodation and up to $500 travel expenses. The lucky winner will be drawn after the Early Bird period ends.

ABGC grower members are also eligible to receive a discounted Congress rate. Simply provide your unique Grower Member Code. If you’ve not received your code, you can contact Hilary Opray via or 07 3278 4786.


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.