A renewed round of talks on a proposed banana industry buyout of the Tully farm infested with plant disease Panama Tropical Race 4 (TR4) has ended with the Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) body saying it’s time to focus on other biosecurity options.
The ABGC said an additional round of discussions was held this month with the farm’s owners after the Australian Government provided funding to add to an initial banana industry buyout proposal made in January.
ABGC Chair Doug Phillips said talks with the owners of the 166-hectare Tully Valley farm had again ended without agreement, the renewed proposal had lapsed and the banana industry must now continue its work on other measures directed at containing TR4.
“The ABGC has put every effort into progressing discussions on a buyout that would allow the closure of the farm’s operations as one way of reducing the risk of TR4 spreading,” Mr Phillips said.
“It’s time to acknowledge the buyout option has been fully discussed, we accept the outcome and respect the views of all parties associated with the talks and the rights of the farm’s owners to continue farming bananas under the quarantine protocols that are in place,” he said.
“The industry now needs to focus on assisting with other achievable options in responding to the TR4 outbreak such as on-farm biosecurity measures, surveillance and containment strategies.”
Mr Phillips said the ABGC is continuing to represent the banana industry on TR4 issues and to provide input into the response being managed by Biosecurity Queensland.
“On March 3 it will be one year since TR4 was detected in North Queensland on the one Tully Valley banana farm. It’s extremely encouraging that there have been no detections on other farms,” he said.
“I’d like to thank everyone in the banana industry, our banana-growing communities and government agencies for their work to date. We are confident there continues to be a strong commitment to keeping TR4 contained.”