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    Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Mobile app for banana growers to protect Great Barrier Reef and fight disease

    Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
    The Honourable Steven Miles

    Wednesday, August 12, 2015

    Mobile app for banana growers to protect Great Barrier Reef and fight disease

    Banana growers and the Queensland Government are joining forces to harness the power of mobile technology to protect the Great Barrier Reef.

    Environment and Great Barrier Reef Minister Dr Steven Miles said the new partnership project between the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection and the Australian Banana Growers’ Council would make it easier for growers to manage fertiliser and chemical use.

    “This will not only reduce the amount of run-off and help to improve water quality for the Reef it will also open up a new front in the fight against Panama Disease and other threats to one of the state’s key industries,” Dr Miles said.

    “EHP is working with the banana growers to develop a mobile application which will simplify the day-to-day management of their farms and safeguard their crops and the environment.

    “Queensland’s banana growers have led the way in developing a best management practice system for their industry to help protect the Great Barrier Reef and the same principles can also be an effective frontline defence against Panama Disease Tropical Race 4.

    “The app will make it easier for growers to keep more detailed electronic records for things like optimal fertiliser use, managing the inter-rows and enable tighter control of chemical use to deter plant and insect pests and trace plant and machinery movement between blocks.

    “The app and associated training will drive the adoption of best management practices such as sediment control, which is important for water quality outcomes and for preventing movement of the soil-borne disease Panama TR4,” Dr Miles said.

    Panama TR4 is an imported crop disease that is threatening the North Queensland banana industry and needs to be brought under control.

    Dr Miles said applying best management practice guidelines would help deliver more precise and timely applications of nutrients and pest and disease treatments, with better control of run-off losses due to subsequent rain.

    “The Queensland Government will continue to work with the Panama Taskforce and the Australian Banana Growers’ Council to deliver the dual benefits of the project – control of a disease that could ruin individual growers, and improvements to the quality of water running off banana properties into reef catchment waterways,” Dr Miles said.

    “We will support growers as they take up the Banana Best Management Practices Environmental Guidelines with communications and extensive services to ensure that they have access to the new tool and the assistance they need to help improve their enterprises.”

    Australian Banana Growers’ Council Chairman Doug Phillips said the online version of the Best Management Practices Environmental Guidelines had been popular with banana growers and the mobile app would be another step forward.

    “Banana growers are continuously improving their farm practices and are increasingly using technology to make recording and managing information quicker and easier,” Mr Phillips said.

    “The new mobile app will make it easier for growers to capture important information about individual farm blocks while they are out in the paddocks and then analyse this information when they’re back in the office.”

    Media Contact: Katharine Wright 0422 580 342

    ENDS