In response to members’ calls to address their concerns around the increasing demands of food safety and other compliance programs, ABGC ran a member-only workshop on Tuesday 5th December 2023.

11 members attended the two-hour workshop which was facilitated by Kathryn Dryden (ABGC Stakeholder Engagement & Advocacy Manager), which allowed members to speak openly and constructively along with Leanne Erakovic (ABGC CEO), Michelle McKinlay (ABGC Industry Strategy Manager), and Stephen Lowe (FNQ Grower and ABGC Deputy Chair).

Everyone’s input was heard, and an agreed way forward was established.

A video of the workshop was proposed to be available to all members, however due to the nature of the content and format of the workshop, it has proven difficult to prepare. We do, however, want to make sure all members can learn from the workshop and contribute to ABGC’s way forward in this space. Below is a summary of what was discussed and the consensus moving forward. If you would like to know more or wish to discuss, please contact Kathryn on 0455 553 596 or via


Issues and concerns about compliance were raised and grouped into the following themes:

  • Duplication
  • Cost
  • Inconsistencies
  • Increasing expectations
  • Inequity
  • Communication
  • Relevance
  • Consequences
  • Risk

The difference between ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ compliance was explained, with ‘hard’ compliance being bound by law where there is little opportunity for growers to influence/request change. ‘Soft’ compliance includes food safety standards of which banana growers are proud of and want to maintain at a high level whilst ensuring efficiencies and costs are appropriate to support sustainable farming businesses.

The opportunities for influence were discussed to ensure the identified way forward is realistic and achievable.


It was agreed that ABGC continue to work through the Horticulture Council for collaborative action where issues and values align with other hort commodities.

The potential for ABGC to offer members resources to support changing compliance expectations was discussed. This will be presented to the ABGC Board for consideration based on ABGC’s capacity and risk assessment.

Growers are encouraged to provide ABGC with information/examples of challenges in the compliance space. Understanding the cost of production is a useful tool for ABGC to help influence changes to compliance demands on banana growers. The Benchmarking project is a way for growers to assist. Contact Rosie Godwin via for more information.