Growers’ e-bulletin – June 3, 2021


3 June, 2021


Law changes for casual employees
Bunnings banana sales
Consumer awareness posters


Law changes for casual employees

Changes to the workplace entitlements and obligations for casual employees came into effect on March 27 this year, including the requirement to convert casuals to permanent employee status after 12 months.

The Fair Work Act was amended to include this pathway, as well as a new definition of casual employee and an obligation to provide a copy of the Casual Employment Information Statement to new employees. A summary of the reforms, and a copy of the Statement, can be found here. The statement has been recently updated (May).

The ABGC encourages any growers or banana business managers to contact their HR specialist with concerns or questions. Growcom also offers some (paid) resources for those in horticulture industry here.

From the Fair Work Ombudsman:

Employers (with more than 15 employees) must provide their employees with the Casual Employment Information Statement. They also need to make a written offer to convert their casual employees to permanent employment within 21 days of the employee’s 12 month anniversary, if the employee:

  • Has been employed by the employer for 12 months
  • Has worked a regular pattern of hours on an ongoing basis for at least the last 6 months
  • Could continue working these hours as a full-time or part-time employee without significant changes.

More details about this specific requirement can be found here.

Please note the requirements are different for Small Businesses (less than 15 employees), where an offer does not have to be made but an employee can request casual conversion after 12 months. Employers then have 21 days to respond. Reasonable grounds for refusing a request are here.

You still need to adhere by other rules and provide a copy of the Casual Employment Information Statement. Details here.

Please note, while Fair Work is updating modern Awards in line with these changes, at this stage you still need to consider any relevant Awards during this process.


Bunnings bananas – further information for growers

The Australian Banana Growers’ Council has heard concerns about the sale of banana plants from Bunnings, including in Innisfail. 

As the peak industry body, ABGC is constantly working with relevant authorities to maintain and promote strong biosecurity for the banana industry. 

This work must take place within current legislation (the Biosecurity Act of 2014, which came into place in 2015). This Act marked a move to ‘shared responsibility’ by Government – meaning industry was expected to take a greater role in managing biosecurity threats. Under the new Act, there is no longer any restriction on the banana varieties that can be grown by backyarders nor the number of plants they can grow. However there is an obligation on all people to minimise the impact of biosecurity risks. 

The ABGC has worked with Biosecurity Queensland to ensure plants supplied into Bunnings are of high health, have been produced via QBAN accredited facilities and that biosecurity risks are minimised in Bunnings distribution centres. You can read more about QBAN here. 

Ultimately, plants sold at places like Bunnings are available to backyard growers, which is why steps taken to try and ensure their health are so important. The ABGC provides a range of information to the public via its website, Facebook, through fielding calls and via points of interest like gardening clubs. The ABGC has also developed a Code of Practice for planting material for growers (and others) as means of reducing risk posed by planting material. Read more about the Code here. Raising awareness around this issue – within and outside of industry – is an ongoing task and one that ABGC seeks to advance at every opportunity.  

Providing means for backyard growers to source QBAN certified plants from a place like Bunnings is by far preferable to them sourcing plants from neighbours, unverified nurseries or even Buy Sell Swap pages online, which can occasionally occur. There are also regulations around moving planting material in and out of the Queensland northern and southern biosecurity zones and the Bunchy Top Control zone of New South Wales.


Correction – email for consumer awareness posters

In an e-bulletin earlier this week, marketing agents and growers were reminded that Hort Innovation has point of sale posters to help educate consumers on fruit appearance and quality throughout the winter season.

To order, the correct email is Please specify quantities required, delivery date, best delivery contact and address.





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.