The sugarcane industry is important to the Mackay region. Picture: Kirili Lamb
The sugarcane industry is important to the Mackay region. Picture: Kirili Lamb

Queensland Election: Where political parties stand on sugar

CANEGROWERS has called on the parties contesting the Queensland Election to back the sugar industry by committing to a plan to unleash the industry's potential.

Canegrowers chairman Paul Schembri said a vibrant sugarcane industry would pay dividends to regional communities and the state economy.

"We can contribute to the COVID-19 economic recovery," Mr Schembri said.

"Our Canegrowers analysis shows that for every $1 we spend growing sugarcane, $6.42 of further economic activity is generated in the Queensland economy - this supports jobs, businesses and communities."

The organisation for Australian sugarcane growers is calling on political parties to commit to its eight point plan:

1. Reduce the cost of power and water to drive productivity and profitability

2. Cut red tape on farming which doesn't help the Great Barrier Reef

3. Build a diversified industry for regional economic growth based on renewable sugarcane

4. Back the sugarcane industry's commitment environmental responsibility through ongoing support for our internationally-recognised accreditation program, Smartcane BMP

5. Invest in a future agricultural workforce with school programs and post-school skills training

6. Enable sustainable and innovative electricity and water use through local renewable energy grids, farm improvement programs and efficient irrigation schemes

7. Remove roadblocks to disaster preparedness including making insurance more affordable

8. Fund research and improve government services to agriculture with a revitalised Agriculture Department

Canegrowers chairman Paul Schembri.
Canegrowers chairman Paul Schembri.

 

More stories:

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Mackay growers lead charge in reef bill battle

Million dollar opportunity for Whitsunday 'reef champions'

 

Here's what the political parties had to say:

ALP:

"We have worked collaboratively with canegrowers and will continue to do so.

"We've backed the industry with research investment, assistance with current and future labour needs, and upgraded biosecurity - unlike the LNP who sacked one in four biosecurity officers.

"We will carefully review the canegrowers policy priorities and provide a considered response."

LNP:

"As well as building more water infrastructure, the LNP will also slash the price of water for SunWater irrigators by almost 20 per cent.

"In relation to red and green tape, an LNP Government will review and reform Queensland's landscape management laws to support more regional jobs and protect the state's valuable eco-systems.

"An LNP Government will commission a review into the Labor's vegetation management laws and launch the consultation process within its first 30 days, with the intention of delivering the review's findings by mid-2021.

"You also have our commitment an incoming LNP Government will work with the agricultural sector and environmental groups to review and develop new environmental reef standards.

"The LNP will ensure changes to regulations will provide certainty, respect privacy and rely on sound agronomic science."

KAP - Ciaron Paterson:

"Myself and the KAP have and always will support cane farmers. Recently the KAP convinced the State Government to reduce water tariffs by 25 per cent for farmers.

"The KAP also is the only party who has vowed to abolish reef regulations from day one. We also want to increase the ethanol mandate from 4 per cent to 10 per cent by 2025.

"This will provide great opportunities for our sugar cane producers and local manufacturers and processors, as well as increasing demand for agricultural products.

"Finally, the KAP is a big believer in multi-peril insurance is an insurance bundle that would cover loss of crop yields from drought and flood, and other natural causes."

NQ First:

"NQ First has already made a major commitment to cut energy costs by pledging $400m to build a new coal-fired power station at Collinsville, subject to us winning the balance of power.

"In terms of cutting red and green tape, NQ First has already picked up the cane knife, promising to repeal Labor's anti-farming reef regulations.

"NQ First supports the idea of embracing new technology and the like so our farmers can make the most of any new opportunities including the development of a biofuels industry which could lead to major export opportunities for the Port of Mackay.

"NQ First is the only political party that has committed to reopening our agricultural colleges in Emerald and Longreach, as well as building new institutions in Mareeba and the Burdekin - all thanks to our $1b Building the North program, financed by mining royalties."

"NQ First will have more to say on insurance matters in the very near future.

"NQ First is the only political party that has promised to relocate Sugar Research Australia to Mackay."

 

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