AU: Banana levy for emergencies moves a step closer

Banana growers have moved one step closer to paying a levy which would help them respond to a serious pest incursion.

The industry signed up to the Emergency Pest Plant Response deed in 2004 and has only now introduced a levy to meets its obligations under the cost sharing arrangements.

With growers on heightened alert against the threat of Panama tropical race 4, since quarantine measures in the Northern Territory were relaxed this year, Australian Banana Growers Council president Doug Phillips has defended the time it's taken.

"What we are doing now with the introduction of this levy is really just providing that mechanism," he said.

"We've been a signatory to it for a number of years and this is really just dotting the i's and crossing the t's and the important thing to realise at this stage is that the levy will be set at zero initially.

"It will only basically be enacted if there is an incursion of an exotic disease, it doesn't have to be tropical race four, it could be some other exotic disease."

Source: www.abc.net.au

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