Banana compo leaves farm­ers out of pocket

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

FAR North­ern banana grow­ers who suf­fered mas­sive losses in the Panama dis­ease scare have ex­pressed their shock at sug­ges­tions they will not re­ceive any more com­pen­sa­tion.

Agri­cul­ture min­is­ters Barnaby Joyce and Bill Byrne is­sued a joint state­ment on Mon­day declar­ing “fi­nal pay­ments” had been made to the Rep­pel and Rob­son fam­i­lies.

They will be re­im­bursed a com­bined $ 684,243 for the net rev­enue fore­gone dur­ing the pe­riod they were un­able to trade, with both gov­ern­ments and the Aus­tralian Banana Grow­ers’ Coun­cil to share the cost.

But that will go lit­tle way to cov­er­ing the losses, ac­cord­ing to the fam­i­lies’ le­gal ad­viser Ian Con­rad of MacDon­nells Law. He yesterday sought clar­i­fi­ca­tion on whether more com­pen­sa­tion was still to come.

Be­van Rob­son’s 160ha farm near Tully was placed in lock­down for eight weeks af­ter Panama dis­ease Trop­i­cal Race 4 was de­tected on March 3.

It was the state’s first case of the soil- borne fun­gus that vir­tu­ally wiped out the in­dus­try in the North­ern Ter­ri­tory.

About a month later, oper­a­tions were sus­pended at Mark Rep­pel’s two plan­ta­tions near Ma­reeba fol­low­ing a TR4­pos­i­tive test re­sult, which was later re­vealed to be in­cor­rect.

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