Growers’ e-bulletin – September 17, 2021


September 17, 2021


Banana field walks online
Reforms to SWP/PLS
Bunchy Top control zone changes
FNQ banana waste project
Grants for women in ag 


Banana field walks now online

Growers now have access to two new banana research updates, delivered as part a recent field walk at the South Johnstone Research Station (Far North Queensland).

Whether you farm in another part of the country, couldn’t make it, or want to revisit the day – click on the topic of interest below, or search for the Australian Banana Growers’ Council on YouTube to watch the presentations. It’s hoped that more of these videos will become available over time, allowing you to keep up-to-date with industry developments in a way that suits you – in the shed, at home or even waiting in line at school pick-up.

Banana variety expert Jeff Daniels (Principal Horticulturalist with DAF Queensland) takes a walk-through plant crop bunches in the new variety trial at South Johnstone FNQ, with non-Cavendish types including Lady Finger types, some CIRAD varieties, High Noon as well as a few Cavendish varieties.


DAF Queensland Research Horticulturist Shanara Vievers presents the latest findings on the effects of early de-suckering of tissue culture banana plants.


Reforms to SWP/PLS

The Federal Government recently announced the first stage of reforms to the Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Workers Program, aimed at streamlining and reducing red tape.

The closer alignment between the two initiatives comes under the newly branded Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme.

The PLS and SWP are vital to the banana industry and complement our existing workforce, and the ABGC was at the forefront of lobbying for their resumption after the pandemic hit.

ABGC members have continuously told us that red-tape was a major roadblock and the application process arduous, so measures to make the programs easier to access are welcomed. In addition, the ABGC is pleased with additional efforts to protect worker welfare and better meet the needs of regional Australia.

This move supports the Government’s previous announcement to bring 12,500 workers to Australia by March 2022.  

Hear more at the PLS/SWP info sessions

If you’re keen to hear more about the reforms, and the PLS/SWP generally, be sure to secure your spot for the PLS/SWP Industry Updates in Innisfail and Mareeba next month.

  • Atherton Tablelands Industry Update: Tuesday October 5, 9.45am – 2.30pm, Mareeba Leagues Club. Reserve your place:
  • Innisfail Industry Update: Wednesday October 6, 9.45am – 2.30pm, Innisfail Brothers Leagues Club. Reserve your place:

The ABGC advocates for banana growers and no one else – giving members a united and more powerful voice for industry.  

Contact Leanne Erakovic, the ABGC’s advocate on workforce issues, if you have any questions.


Changes within the Bunchy Top control zone

The New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) has announced changes designed to reduce red tape around banana plants in the Bunchy Top Control Zone that will come into effect on October 1

Amongst other changes, for planting applications, notification can be given up to 7 days after planting instead of 7 months before – significantly reducing red tape and better suiting grower needs. 

Growers within the control zone should have received a more detailed update via email earlier this week – if you didn’t receive a copy, please email with your contact details or view the email here.


Far North Queensland banana waste collection project


GreenCollar has teamed up with MAMS (waste solutions) to develop a Pilot Plastic Waste Collection Project in Far North Queensland. ABGC is a collaborator on the project. The aim is to incentivise the collection and recycling of plastic waste from banana farms. GreenCollar is hosting a workshop to inform local stakeholders about the project and to provide a forum for people to ask questions and to have input in the project design.

This is a fantastic opportunity to be involved in the design and implementation of a project to reduce plastic waste in Far North Queensland!


  • GreenCollar and MAMS introductions
  • Crediting projects as a mechanism for positive environmental outcomes
  • Project overview, scope and design 
  • Project specifics
  • Questions, feedback and grower input.

Please RSVP by Thursday 30th September to: Charlotte Fladgate – GreenCollar 0401610331


Grants for women in ag

Leadership scholarships available for women in horticulture

Co-funded by WLA and Hort Innovation, a limited number of scholarships are available to enable more women within the Horticulture sector to access powerful and effective leadership development opportunities. Expressions of interest close Friday 8 October unless allocated prior. Click here to apply or for more information:

Applications open for AgriFutures Rural Women’s Awards

A winner from each State and Territory will receive a $15,000 bursary for their project, business or program, access to professional development opportunities and alumni networks. On top of that, a National Winner will be awarded on additional $20,000 and a National Runner Up an additional $15,000. Details here: