ABGC 2023 Highlights

ABGC 2023 Highlights

As presented at the ABGC’s 2023 AGM by Chair Leon Collins in November at South Johnstone, following are some of the key projects and achievements.


– Funded by ABGC

A big change since the last AGM is the creation of the Stakeholder Engagement and Advocacy Manager. This new role, delivered by Kathryn Dryden, is dedicated to improving member services and advocating on priority issues. Kathryn is funded exclusively by ABGC membership fees and the role came about as part of an organisational restructure thanks to our new CEO Leanne. Kathryn started in July and is based in FNQ.

She has:

  • Been on the ground talking to growers to identify priority issues across the industry.
  • Compliance, workforce, and competition are issues where action is already being taken.
  • ABGC has representation on many influential Committees where we bring banana issues to the table and stay one step ahead of the game.
  • We will keep members up to date on these and you will have noticed improved member services, information and contact from us. This will continue to improve and be guided by our members.
  • Through Kathryn’s role, ABGC will continue to lobby against changes that will Funhave a negative impact on growers.


Funded by Hort Innovation Australia | Best Management Practice – Department of Environment & Sustainability/Great Barrier Reef Foundation

Michelle McKinlay is the Industry Strategy Manager delivering the Biosecurity and Sustainability project.

The last project:

  • Attracted $4.8 million from the Queensland Government that funded several initiatives including the BMP project. This amount includes $1.5m in grants to assist growers with making on-farm improvements. 
  • Prepared 40 technical submissions to improve government policy and programs.
  • Assisted with the creation of the industry led TR4 containment program; and
  • Made environmental regulations more practical for growers.

Due to this success, ABGC won the bid to run the project for another three years.


– Funded by Hort Innovation Australia

Rosie Godwin is the Banana Industry R&D Manager coordinating R&D investments to improve industry productivity and profitability.

Some of the highlights of 2023 include:

The Banana Scientific Symposium – one of the largest events for disseminating R&D outcomes to growers.

  • Collaborating with DAF on the Chlorpyrifos chemical review
  • Establishing the new 5-year industry benchmarking project in collaboration with Aglyticia and Hort Innovation (which will be presented on later in the meeting).
  • And, reduced impact of endemic diseases leaf spot and bunchy top virus via area-wide management.

supply chain engagement

– Funded by Hort Innovation Australia

Andrew works in tandem with the Hort Innovation marketing and Customer marketing teams and now sits on the Marketing Advisory Panel. The role is a first for bananas, working close to hort marketing to help ensure levy projects maximise demand creation.

Andrew provided an update at the AGM with a presentation on the project. 

More information is in the December issue of the Australian Bananas Magazine, and updates to members are planned for the New Year via Leanne’s CEO Update e-bulletins.


– Funded by Hort Innovation Australia

Sonia Campbell leads national communications initiatives for the industry. Sonia and her small team have made a great effort achieving the following for 2023:

The instore staff retail training video was viewed by major retail stores nationally and played on continual loop at the National Metcash Conference and Expo on the Gold Coast in July.

  • Organised presentations by mental health advocate John Harper who spoke to more than 80 growers and their employees.
  • Delivered another successful Congress
  • Launched new ABGC branding, website and designated members’ portal with links to beneficial information to banana businesses.
  • Managed ABGC’s social media channels including Facebook, Instagram and Tiktok.
  • Produced three editions of the Australian Bananas Magazine.

Sonia has recently moved on from ABGC with, the very capable Amy Spear now taking the reins. Amy has been with ABGC for several years

panama tr4

Funded by Queensland Government/Plant Health Australia Levy

ABGC has taken the lead with Geoff Wilson heading up the program based in Far North Queensland. The project aims to protect the industry via proven control and containment strategies and relies on grower support to ensure its success.

The team’s focus is to support growers with an ‘early detection, early treatment’ approach, and to assist with quick return to market should a grower become infested.

A Steering Committee with the Dept of Agriculture and Fisheries, ABGC and grower representatives oversee the program.

Biosecurity Queensland remain involved in compliance of infested properties, and in investigating public enquiries about suspect plants.

BQ letters have gone out to all growers asking for their consent to share data with ABGC. Grower support is crucial for the Program to be successful. BQ still has legislative authority to do surveillance if a grower doesn’t consent to ABGC.