Hinchinbrook MP, Andrew Cripps, has welcomed news the sale of the TR4 infected property west of Tully by the Robson family to the Australian Banana Growers Council has been completed and settlement finalised, as a major step forward for the banana industry in North Queensland.
Mr Cripps said after a marathon negotiation process over the terms of the sale between the Robson family, three levels of government and the banana industry, as well as a successful grower vote for a dedicated levy, he was relieved and encouraged that the transaction had finally occurred.
“We’ve had some difficult times and hurdles during this journey, including a false positive on the Tablelands and a recent delay while some plants were tested for TR4, as well as the normal swings and roundabouts dealing with bureaucrats, lawyers and politicians at all levels” said Mr Cripps.
“However, the result is very important – the Australian Banana Growers Council and the Robson family have reached a landmark agreement which we hope will significantly reduce the risk posed by Panama Disease Tropical Race 4 to the banana industry in North Queensland” he said.
Mr Cripps there were a number of people who needed to be thanked and recognised as contributing to the positive outcome which will see the Robson family treated with respect and able to leave their farm with dignity, while securing a strong biosecurity outcome for industry.
“The Robson family themselves deserve to be praised for their cooperation, their willingness to negotiate fairly and above all their patience – it has been an extremely uncertain time for this family which has been through hell and back and I admire them for their resilience”.
“I would like to acknowledge Doug Phillips, the Chair of the ABGC and his Board of Directors, all the growers who supported the levy and those growers and other people in the North Queensland banana industry who have supported the Robson family during this difficult time”.
“I want to pay tribute to LNP Senator Barry O’Sullivan who has been a fierce advocate for the banana industry and secured the commitment of the Federal LNP Government, as well as Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and Assistant Minister Keith Pitt, who provided strong support.
“Unfortunately, the same complement can’t be made to the Palaszczuk Labor Government, which flatly refused to contribute to the agreement that secured the sale of the TR4 infected property in order to reduce the risk of the disease to North Queensland’s billion dollar banana industry”.
Mr Cripps said although the transfer of the infected property to the ABGC was a big step forward, the fight to contain TR4 continued across North Queensland and he encouraged growers, local residents and visitors to continue to observe relevant biosecurity warnings and precautions.