Growers’ e-bulletin – 16 November, 2021


No change to existing PLS/SWP border arrangements 
Reminder of PLS/SWP info sessions
Students seeking farm work
Change to piece work provisions
Aussie bananas hit world stage 
Outcomes from TR4 review – Part 2

No changes to current PLS/SWP quarantine arrangements

The Queensland Government’s Vaccine Plan outlines a range of measures that will affect both vaccinated and non-vaccinated Queenslanders once the state reaches 80% fully dosed.

Under the plan, quarantine requirements for overseas workers entering Queensland under the Pacific Labour Scheme and Seasonal Worker Programme (PLS/SWP) will not change. 

The current arrangements will be in place until at least December 2021, and possibly beyond.

Keep up-to-date by following the PLS/SWP eHub      

Reminder of PLS/SWP information sessions

A reminder of two upcoming information sessions in NQ organised to update industry on the PLS and SWP.

The workshops – co-ordinated by DAF – will provide an opportunity for people involved with the programs, or wanting to be, to hear latest developments and ask questions.

The sessions will be held next week:

·       Wednesday, 24 November, 9.45am-2.30pm, at the South Johnstone Research Station. You will need to register to secure your seat.

·       Thursday, 25 November, 9.45am – 2.30pm, at the Mareeba Leagues Club. You will need to register to secure your seat.

Key speakers will be present from DAF, Queensland Health, Department of Education Skills and Employment and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

There will be limits on numbers at both venues, so please reserve your seat as soon as possible by clicking on the links above.

Students looking for farm work

The Queensland Agriculture Workforce Network (QAWN) is trying to connect growers needing workers with students looking for farm work this summer. If you are interested, please see more details in the flyer below.

Change to piece work provisions

As expected, there has been a lot of interest in the Fair Work Commission’s recent decision to introduce a minimum wage floor on piece work rates. This will affect horticulture industries Australia-wide.

The Commission determined that the insertion of a minimum floor price was ‘justified by work value reasons’ and was necessary to achieve the modern awards objective.

Growers can contact the Commission in writing with any views about the impact of the decision on their businesses by emailing directly to and using the reference AM2020/104. You can comment on the proposed draft variation determination and provisional view no later than 4.00pm Friday, 26 November 2021.

Read the decision here 

Aussie bananas hit the world stage

Congratulations to Innisfail grower Gavin Devaney of Bartle Frere Bananas for his video appearance at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow last week.

Gavin featured in Hitachi’s COP26 presentation ‘Technology and Data Are Key to Save the Environment’, speaking about his Smart Farm project, which is funded by Hort Innovation from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

Under the project, Gavin is working with Hitachi using data monitoring and sensing technology to create greater sustainability and environmentally friendly farming practices. Innovative technology he is using includes weather monitoring stations and a supply chain control tower to capture farming operation data, such as insights coming from soil moisture and nitrate sensors, to a supply-chain tracking system with tags on banana plants and pallets.

To see Gavin’s presentation click here. His video starts about 19 minutes in.

Outcomes from scientific TR4 review – Part 2

In Part 2 of this series, we highlight another outcome from the independently-researched Panama TR4 Epidemiological Review, which provides recommendations for industry to continue to manage the disease.

Here we focus on disease manifestations on infested properties.  Did you know that detection of symptomatic plants on a property is an indication of the disease being present for some time?

This is because the life cycle of TR4 is such that it remains invisible in the soil until wilt symptoms appear in a banana plant. So, the absence of symptoms is not a good indicator of whether the pathogen is present or absent on a farm.

During the time TR4 is invisible, it may have been spread around the farm on boots, vehicles, water and by feral animals.  Additionally, the presence of TR4 may be masked by the high incidence of Bacterial Corm Rot and both diseases can infect a banana plant at the same time. 

In both situations TR4 could be quite widespread by the time it is detected so preventing the incursion onto your property is a much better and cheaper method of control. 

For more information on disease manifestations on infested properties see Page 9 of the Epi Review which can be read HERE