The North Queensland government and the Australian Banana Growers' Council have teamed up to jointly fund and deliver a program that is designed to protect Australia's $600 million banana industry. To that end, a new board, tasked with overseeing Queensland's Panama TR4 Program for the next three years, has met for the first time.
The program was developed after the soil-borne disease was first detected in the Tully Valley in 2015. Since then, there has been three more detections on neighbouring farms, with the latest being in February 2020.
Queensland agriculture minister Mark Furner said the state government last year committed a further $12 million until June 2023 to control and contain Panama. "The ABGC will begin co-funding the program this year through grower levies, eventually contributing 50 per cent of funding for the program in 2022/23.”
Under the new arrangement, industry and government will have equal decision-making responsibilities.
"As a partner in this unique arrangement, the Queensland Government is committed to the banana industry, which is an economic powerhouse in Far North Queensland," Mr Furner said. "I am incredibly pleased that industry will be sitting at the table with Government to make key decisions on the future management of the disease, and the program."