​Media release

Increased support for Panama disease effort

11 April 2015

Following a second detection of Panama disease, Tropical Race 4 (Fusarium wilt), on a property in Mareeba, the Australian Government is providing additional assistance to the Queensland Government’s efforts to respond to this latest detection and the recent positive cases of the disease at a property in the Tully Valley.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said the second detection was very concerning.

“My priority is to work with the Queensland Govern​ment to deliver support to affected North Queensland producers through the emergency response effort,” Minister Joyce said.

The Australian Government has to date delivered $210,000 in support to fund a range of biosecurity measures to support the emergency response effort.

“This funding includes the contribution of specialised personnel to help with tracing and planning activities.

“We are also providing support to Biosecurity Queensland to get access to specialist high-throughput diagnostic equipment, so that large numbers of plant samples can be rapidly processed.

“On ground surveillance teams will assess the extent of the infection so neighbouring properties are asked to remain vigilant of any signs of disease on their properties and to follow any directions from biosecurity authorities.

“This includes providing banana growers in the region with front-of-gate signage for their properties.  The signs will inform people about how to follow biosecurity protocols before entering the property—it’s a basic, but vitally important, step in reducing the risk that the disease will spread.

“We will also provide funding for road signage, which will let affected communities know the role they have in helping the local banana industry be vigilant about biosecurity.

“There will also be information kits developed specifically for banana growers, along with decontamination information kits—providing clear information about decontamination of people and equipment is vital,” Minister Joyce said.

Panama disease is considered to be one of the most destructive diseases of banana. It is spread by soil and water, and with movement of infected planting material. Panama disease, Tropical race 4, is present in South East Asia and the Northern Territory.

Panama disease poses no threat to human health.

For more information, visit daff.qld.gov.au/plants/health-pests-diseases/a-z-significant/panama-disease2​.