11
Mar 2021

Banana growers want grants, not more debt

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KENNEDY MP, Bob Katter, has joined Cassowary Coast Banana Growers President, Dean Sinton, to call on the Queensland and Federal governments to provide Category C disaster grants for growers impacted by Cyclone Niran.

Mr Katter has written to the Federal Agriculture Minister asking for a please explain, as to why grants for impacted growers hadn’t been approved.

Mr Katter said farmers from all sectors had made it extremely clear over the last decade that the last thing they wanted was more debt.

“So far the only options the State and Federal Governments have released since last week's weather event have been loans, we don’t want that, and we are making a very clear stand today,” he said.

“The 60 to 70 farmers impacted by this weather event need a cash grant urgently, whether that’s 80, 90 or $100,000. Farmer collectively cannot handle any more debt. They can’t service any more debt.

“These farmers won’t be making money at the moment, but they need workers to clean up and replant the banana plantations.”

Cassowary Coast Banana Growers President, Dean Sinton, said some growers will have no income for up to 12 months and needed support in the form of grants.

“Grant funding would allow these growers to keep their staff employed,” he said.

“Because of the Covid-19 border closures there is not a lot of spare labour around. So, a grant would guarantee a workforce while growers undertake the task of cleaning up and replanting.

“We are still assessing the damage, but 20 to 30 percent of the far northern growing region has been affected. Banana growing is a large chunk of the North Queensland economy, so the lack of detail and certainty around disaster funding is frustrating. It’s been a tough 12 months.”
-ENDS-

Contact Details

Innisfail
P: (07) 4061 6066
F: (07) 4061 6566
Visit: Cnr Edith and Owen St
Post: PO Box 1638
Innisfail, Qld 4860

Mount Isa
P: (07) 4743 3534
F: (07) 4743 0189
Visit: 42-44 Simpson St
Post: PO Box 2130
Mount Isa, Qld 4825

Canberra
(when Parliament is sitting)
P: (02) 6277 4978
F: (02) 6277 8558

Local Call within the electorate
P: 1300 301 942

Email: Bob.Katter.MP@aph.gov.au