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Cyclone-hit banana farmers requested wages help in March, contrary to Minister’s comments

Cyclone-hit  banana farmers requested wages help in March, contrary to Minister’s comments

A peril-hit grower who hosted Agriculture Minister Rate Furner on his flattened banana farm says the MP’s claims he used to be ignorant of requests for wage subsidies are despicable.

Key points:

  • Catastrophe-stricken banana farmers told order Ag Minister Rate Furner they wanted wage relief
  • Representatives campaigned for a Qantas-model JobKeeper wage subsidy, to help irreplaceable employees till crops recover
  • Mr Furner stated he wasn’t responsive to the subsidy call, but location of business confirms receipt of March 8 letter

Speaking at a strawberry farm close to the Sunshine Flit on Wednesday, Mr Furner told the Nation Hour he had no longer heard the demand wage subsidies from growers.

Early Newspaper

“I bear never heard that from the Australian Banana Growers’ Association, but [I am] willing to bear a dialogue with them on these kinds of initiatives,” he stated. 

However Innisfail district grower Bernie Devaney, who misplaced 95 per cent of his cut on March 1 in freak winds connected to Cyclone Niran, stated that explain used to be despicable.

“He came onto our farm here with a contingent of folks,” Mr Devaney stated.

Mr Devaney stated at an earlier meeting with federal minister David Littleproud a wage subsidy used to be also talked about.

“Fifty per cent of your value is wages. An significant thing for us on this farm used to be trying to access a wage subsidy the same to what used to be given after Larry and after Yasi,” he stated. 

Damaged banana crops in North Queensland from wild weather

Growers want wage relief to help employees employed so they’re going to be obtainable when banana production recovers in October.(

Supplied: Banana Growers Council


Growers’ council ‘baffled’

A letter despatched from the Australian Banana Growers’ Council (ABGC) dated March 8 has been supplied to the ABC, in which chairman Stephen Lowe requests wage help be supplied.

“The ABGC can be hopeful of working extra with the executive to present some invent of wage subsidy help to these worst-affected growers in declare to relief them to retain employees, which would be already in seriously short supply due to COVID,” the letter reads.

An ABGC spokeswoman stated it used to be “baffled” by the yell Mr Furner made that he had no longer heard the calls for circulate on a wage subsidy.

The spokeswoman pointed to mobile phone calls from chief executive Jim Pekin, media releases and interviews in addition to public calls to Mr Littleproud for the same help.

In an announcement, a spokesman for Mr Furner confirmed the minister’s location of business got the ABGC letter in March seeking reinforce for growers in the wake of Cyclone Niran.

The explain stated Mr Furner’s location of business responded, advising that the order executive used to be working with the Commonwealth to set off Class C help below the joint federal-order peril restoration funding arrangements, and famed the council used to be working with acceptable companies as regards to wage subsidies.

Bunches of bananas on a supermarket shelf, a healthy snack and fruit.

About 10 per cent of the industry’s banana growers were hit by the negative winds, but a few dozen seen their complete cut worn out.(

Pexels: Gratisography


Wage plot publicised

Mr Devaney stated ABGC chairman Mr Lowe seemed on Channel 10 rapidly after the destruction, during which he called for a plot the same to that supplied to Qantas to retain JobKeeper access.

“[Qantas help] used to be form of introduced prior to Stephen [Lowe] going on national television. That used to be his main thrust point, to relate, ‘What we’re chasing is a wage subsidy the same to what the executive’s going to present for Qantas with prolonged-haul pilots,'” he stated.

In an announcement, Federal Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud stated the danger of a wage subsidy, in preference to grants, used to be raised with him personally when he visited the affected farmers.

Mr Littleproud stated he explained that Catastrophe Recovery Preparations did no longer quilt such reinforce, but he had requested the main reinforce cost be lifted from $25,000 to $75,000.

A call on the Queensland premier’s inquire for $75,000 grants is awaiting approval by the Top Minister.

Cyclone-hit banana farmers requested wages help in March, contrary to Minister’s comments