State Govt criticised for inaction after sugar mill closure
The State Government has been accused of doing nothing to support cane growers in the wake of the closure of the Maryborough Sugar Mill.
It comes after the Federal Government provided a $2.5 million grant allowing cane from Maryborough and further afield to be processed at the Isis Central Sugar Mill.
Hinkler MP Keith Pitt announced the funding earlier this week, but criticised the State Government over the issue.
"It's growers and workers at Maryborough Sugar Mill, in the Member for Maryborough - who is also the Assistant Minister Regional Roads - electorate, who are effected by the mill closure and the State Government still has done nothing," he said.
"The Federal Government have been doing the heavy lifting right through the Covid pandemic, and continues to, with the State Government refusing to assist in getting the sugarcane from Maryborough, Gympie and the Sunshine Coast to Isis Mill."
Deputy Premier and Minister State Development Steven Miles responded to those claims yesterday.
"My department is working with the company and considering ways the Queensland government can support them," he said.
"I welcome the recent announcement by the Federal Government, who are finally doing their part to assist the sugar industry in Queensland."
Canegrowers Maryborough chairman Jeff Atkinson said the grant showed that a relatively small amount could have a big impact on the economic stability of a regional community.
"It gives longer term confidence to the 90 sugarcane growers in my region and job security to 140 farm workers and contractors," he said.
"It is a good result all round - Maryborough sugarcane can now support a viable Isis Mill into the future."
Isis Central Sugar Mill is matching the Federal Government grant so the facility will be operational before the season starts.
State Government support is also being sought, Mr Atkinson said, and if this is forthcoming, growers will have the confidence they need for a successful season that now only hinges on the urgent need for rain in the southern sugarcane regions of Queensland to promote crop growth.
"In January the rain looked good but February has delivered almost nothing with temperatures up to 38 degrees so the situation is getting desperate," Mr Atkinson said.