Labor backs banana growers, but threats to agriculture remain

The Palaszczuk Government has backed Queensland’s banana industry with an almost $12.1 million boost over five years to the fight against Panama TR4 disease.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said a recent independent review of the Panama TR4 Program confirmed the importance of tackling the disease in partnership with industry.

“The review stated that the program should continue but must be based on shared responsibility between government and industry,” Mr Furner said.

“For almost four years, we have been very successful in containing the disease to just three adjoining farms. A major factor in that success has been the joint approach taken by government, industry, growers, and other key stakeholders.

“Biosecurity Queensland is establishing a working group with the Australian Banana Growers’ Council to progress the development of a first-of-its-kind partnership agreement to fund, deliver, design and govern the Panama TR4 Program in Queensland.

Mr Furner said the agreement will give industry an opportunity to shape its future.

“By having a seat at the table, industry can share the decisions on how Panama TR4 is contained and controlled in Far North Queensland,” he said.

Mr Furner said while the Palaszczuk Government was getting on with the job of protecting the banana industry, he was deeply concerned about Federal Governments cuts to biosecurity.

“Queensland is on the front line of biosecurity defence with more biosecurity risks than any other state,” he said.

“Our agricultural industries rely on this defence to make sure our farmers can take on the best in the world.

“This LNP Federal Government claims to be strong on border security but cut 25 per cent of biosecurity staff and put our agricultural industries at risk.

“The Federal Government needs to make sure Queensland gets its fair share of biosecurity funding in tonight’s budget so we can continue to keep our farm industries growing.

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