Media Release

​Further Australian Government assistance for banana growers

23 June 2015

The Australian Government will deliver additional assistance to banana growers following the detection of Panama disease, Tropical Race 4, in Queensland, including financial compensation to growers affected by the initial response as well as funding to develop detailed mapping of major banana producing regions.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said that the Australian Government had now provided more than one million dollars as part of response efforts.

The measures now committed by the Australian Government to date include:
  • ​Financial compensation to affected growers – with final costs to be determined
  • $366,000 for detailed mapping of major banana producing regions
  • $210,000 to the Queensland Government 
  • $95,000 spent deploying Department of Agriculture staff and biosecurity experts from South Australia, New South Wales and Plant Health Australia to boost on-the-ground effort
  • $330,000 to the Australian Banana Growers Council to extend its specialist biosecurity officer programme and to engage international experts in Panama disease.
​“The Australian Government, together with the Queensland Government and the Australian Banana Growers’ Council, is making compensation funding available to affected growers, who will receive reimbursement for costs that they incurred while not being able to harvest and market fruit as a result of the initial emergency biosecurity measures put in place,” Minister Joyce said. 

“It is essential that the growers who first reported suspected outbreaks of Panama disease on their own properties are not disadvantaged financially for selflessly protecting the wider industry.

“The Australian Government is pleased to be supporting this proposal from the Australian Banana Growers’ Council to deliver financial assistance to these growers, and thanks the Council for its strong leadership, cooperation and initiative in responding to this very serious disease. 

“This latest initiative is a further example of the strong partnership between industry and governments in responding to this significant disease.”

In addition to financial assistance to affected growers, Minister Joyce today committed over $366,000 to develop digital mapping of banana plantations in Queensland, Western Australia, New South Wales and the Northern Territory, to help industry manage the risk of Panama disease, Tropical Race 4.

“This project will apply the latest technology and best-available expertise to making digital data sets available to industry and policy-makers,” Minister Joyce said.

“This information will increase the capacity of industry for on-and off-farm risk management and support the development of an industry-based Panama disease biosecurity program.

“It will also help establish the potential for the spread of the disease, identify where to place risk-based containment lines, plan the location of future nurseries and support industry planning to link regional biosecurity with individual farm plans.”

Funding immediately following the outbreak of Panama disease supported signage and advanced diagnostic equipment, the engagement of two eminent international experts to advise industry on responding to the disease and supported the deployment of specialist personnel to help Queensland’s response efforts.

Although there are no impacts to human health, Panama disease is considered to be one of the most destructive diseases of banana plants. Panama disease Tropical Race 4 is present in South East Asia and the Northern Territory.