Defence force attends Panama disease information sessions

Biosecurity Queensland’s Panama TR4 Program has delivered Panama education sessions to Australian Defence Force personnel and cadets to increase their knowledge of the disease.

Air force cadets at the Coquette Point cadet base and army personnel from the jungle training wing at Tully Training Area attended the information sessions.

Panama TR4 Program acting program leader, Rhiannon Evans said it was extremely beneficial for Defence personnel to have a higher level of understanding of the disease.

“Biosecurity Queensland has been working with the Department of Defence since the initial detection in March 2015.

“The Department of Defence is acutely aware of its responsibilities in regards to this potentially devastating disease.

“Continued collaboration with our stakeholders is vital to ensure we are engaging all sectors of the community to win the war on Panama disease,” Ms Evans said.

Defence force environmental officer for the Tully Training Area, Nicole Bradley said personnel were well informed on Panama disease.

“They have consistently been on the front foot to keep abreast of the situation and have modified their training regime to ensure their actions pose no threat to the banana industry.

“The Panama education session was very informative, giving participants a better understanding of the disease, its symptoms and how it can be spread. Personnel will also continue to maintain Defence’s strict biosecurity controls to mitigate the spread of all pests, weeds and diseases, including Panama disease tropical race 4,” she added.

Panama disease information sessions are freely available to all banana growers, workers and members of supply chain businesses that may need to access banana farms.

Participants will gain a comprehensive overview of the disease, legislative requirements and how to report symptomatic plants.

There is also a practical demonstration on effective people, vehicle, machinery and equipment decontamination methods to minimise the risk of spread.

“Because Panama disease tropical race 4 is spread by fungal spores, decontamination involves using an effective disinfection product, to kill the pathogen after a short contact time.

“Washing and decontaminating people, vehicles, machinery and equipment on farm entry and exit is still the most effective way to protect your farm from Panama disease,” Ms Evans added.

Training sessions are arranged to suit your needs. For more information phone 4091 8140 or email panamatr4@daf.qld.gov.au.

Information on disinfectant products is available on the Biosecurity Queensland website under Panama disease.

Source: QLD DAF