On this page you can read about CANEGROWERS, a grower-owned organisation supporting and promoting Australian sugarcane growers. 

To inquire about membership, contact your local CANEGROWERS office



CANEGROWERS is the peak body for Australian sugarcane growers

CANEGROWERS Australia represents around 75% of Australia's sugarcane growers. CANEGROWERS is a highly successful lobby, representation and services group, with 19 offices across Queensland and New South Wales.  The national office is in Brisbane.

Government and business leaders recognise CANEGROWERS as the authoritative voice of cane growers. Membership ensures that growers' needs are represented at the highest possible levels of industry and government decision-making. We safeguard growers' interests on all issues likely to affect their business.

The CANEGROWERS organisation exists to:

  • Provide strong leadership for cane growers within a viable sugar industry
  • Deliver effective representation and valuable services to Queensland cane growers
  • Ensure cane grower strength and influence at local, district and state/national/international levels through unity and shared common values.

Our formal name is Queensland Cane Growers Organisation Ltd but everyone knows us as CANEGROWERS. We have been advancing and protecting the interests of cane farming families in Queensland since 1925.

Grower directors (elected by their fellow members) determine organisational policy, which is implemented by staff based in a State office in Brisbane and 15 regional offices.

For many years State Government regulations made it compulsory for all cane growers to belong to CANEGROWERS but since 2000 membership has been voluntary.  Our membership of around 80% is amongst the highest for agricultural organisations in Australia.




Our Vision

To ensure a secure and profitable future for cane growers.



Our Mission

CANEGROWERS provides representation, leadership and services, and promotes unity in the interests of its members.

Our Goals

Assist in maximising grower efficiency and profitability

Contribute to long-term industry efficiency

Enhance organisation effectiveness

Develop a positive external environment for cane growers

Recognise and manage diverse grower needs while maintaining organisation unity

Provide a foundation and structure for future industry development and planning


Our Values

Accountability to our members

A focus on issues relevant to our members

Credibility, integrity and professionalism

Open and effective communication between growers, organisation units and external publics

Community consciousness



A professional, credible and cohesive front for Australian cane growers in negotiations with governments, mills, export markets and a range of other forums, CANEGROWERS protects grower viability, profitability and the Australian cane industry’s international reputation as being cutting edge.

CANEGROWERS is made up of large and small, corporate and family owned, irrigated and dryland growers. With such a broad cross-section of interests at hand, it is the ideal vehicle to draw on this diversity of views and carry forward focussed priorities on behalf of Australian sugarcane growers.

CANEGROWERS is the peak representative body for Australian sugarcane growers. Over 75% of Australian sugarcane growers are members of the highly successful lobby, representation and services group.  Based in Queensland, the State that produces around 95% of Australia’s raw sugar output, the CANEGROWERS National Office represents the interests of cane growers Australia wide.  Government and business leaders recognise CANEGROWERS as the authoritative voice of cane growers.

Membership ensures that growers’ needs are represented at the highest possible levels of industry and government decision-making. We safeguard growers’ interests on all issues likely to affect their business.

The CANEGROWERS organisation exists to:

  • Provide strong leadership for cane growers within a viable sugar industry
  • Deliver effective representation and valuable services to Queensland cane growers
  • Ensure cane grower strength and influence at local, district and state/national/international levels through unity and shared common values

Firstly who are we?

  • Recognised as Australia’s leading representative single commodity group
  • 75% voluntary membership
  • Local, state, national and international reach and influence

We are known for

  • Assisting to maximise growers’ efficiency and profitability
  • Contributing to long-term industry efficiency
  • Enhancing organisation effectiveness
  • Developing a positive external environment for cane growers
  • Recognising and managing diverse growers’ needs while maintaining organisation unity
  • Providing a foundation and structure for future industry development and planning
  • Defending members’ right to farm
  • High international standing and influence


Some of the things we do on behalf of growers:

  • Negotiation with Federal, State and Local Governments on industry issues
  • Negotiation with government agencies and other industry bodies on significant issues affecting cane growers
  • Collective bargaining with mill owners on cane supply, processing and payment issues, allowances and bonuses
  • Cane testing and negotiation of cane and sugar quality schemes
  • Environmental sustainability and property rights
  • Irrigation, drainage and water pricing issues
  • Harvesting equity arrangements
  • Transport, licensing and fuel issues
  • Growers’ financial circumstances including government schemes and major lending institutions
  • Industry research and extension matters
  • Sugar marketing and trade issues
  • Workplace health and safety matters
  • Cane firing arrangements and rural fires
  • Industrial representation and advice
  • Crop protection, rats, canegrubs and other pest issues
  • Chemicals and fertilisers usage
  • Local government matters including valuations

CANEGROWERS also offers a wide range of services. District offices provide services and advice tailored for local needs. Many also act as the secretariat for bodies involved in local industry and community planning, development and management.

Organisational services include:

  • Competitive crop and general insurance
  • Fortnightly sugar magazine and email information
  • Superannuation and financial services
  • Canecard bulk buying service including chemicals, fuel, and irrigation equipment
  • Travel and accommodation discounts
  • Payroll and wages services
  • Legal and technical advice
  • Telephone discounts
  • Assistance with applications
  • Training for farm managers and employees


Benefits of CANEGROWERS Membership



  • Fought for QSL retention and restructure, which ensured the industry kept access to its long-standing line of credit - essential to continuation of strong export pricing. The milling company alternate solution would have destroyed transparency and financial stability
  • CANEGROWERS recommended model was accepted, bringing market understanding, networking and transparency to the new QSL structure and retention of voluntary single desk


  • Pricing/risk management options initiated in 2004 were picked up three years later by CSR
  • Grower pool/audit of mill operated/QSL managed systems
  • Institutional awareness – conduct regular briefings for banks, financial institutions, major corporate players and chambers of commerce state-wide and regionally


  • Disaster mitigation - policy, relief, delivery
  • Economic advice to key stakeholders

Trade/Market Access

  • Global Alliance foundation members
  • Sugar marketing and trade issues
  • Active in trade reform - recently seeing the EU switch from being a mass exporter to mass importer



Sustainability (Environmental)

  • Decades of audit and accountability history
  • Integral to developing a suite of good farm practice tools such as Code of Practice/BMP/SmartCane
  • Reef Rescue
  • Science/productivity driven

Sustainability (Commercial)

  • Stimulating competition in farm inputs (chemicals and fertilisers)
  • Water pricing, irrigation & drainage issues
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Property rights
  • Cane firing and rural fire arrangements

R & D

  • Industry research and extension matters
  • Restructure
  • Emergency Pest & Disease Response - Smut
  • Crop protection, rats, canegrubs and other pest issues
  • Alliances with Dupont, Plant Health and others



  • Assorted Advocacy
  • Transport, licensing and fuel issues
  • Union/award issues - industrial representation and advice
  • Training & training funding
  • Workplace health and safety
  • Tax & national issues
  • Property rights
  • Grower assistance in drought, flood, cyclone
  • Mill collective contracts & mill performance pressure


  • Crop insurance
  • Legal and technical advice
  • Payroll & wages
  • Financial
  • Cane testing
  • Negotiation of cane and sugar quality schemes
  • Membership discounts & buying service
  • Assistance with grants and applications

Information dissemination

  • Australian Canegrower magazine fortnightly
  • Media Releases
  • Public environment reporting
  • Grower CDs and Industry DVDs
  • Comprehensive grower & industry website
  • Information updates
  • Banking, finance, government and stakeholder briefings
  • Events such as the CANEGROWERS Conference
  • Children’s education materials

Negotiation on significant industry issues affecting growers

  • Mills - collective bargaining with mill owners on cane supply, processing & payment, allowances & bonuses
  • Government - Federal, State and Local
  • Industry bodies - NFF, QFF, Growcom, Agforce, Dairy, Forestry
  • Banking & finance - schemes & majorlending institutions


Representation at every level: Local. State. National. International.

At the foundation of a strong organisation is a robust set of policies.   Click on the drop down headings under this section to read more about CANEGROWERS policies and issues.





operate in all major sugar towns
and cities in Queensland.
Thirteen local companies operate
15 local shop-fronts.
Each local company elects a
board of directors to conduct
the affairs of their local
Each local board appoints a
director from each mill area
to represent them on the
Policy Council, ensuring
industry-wide input.


is the more commonly known
name of the overarching state
body, Queensland Cane Growers
Organisation Ltd (QCGO).
Based in Brisbane, the body
supports local offices to service
members and also drives
state-wide issues at the direction
of the State Board and Policy Council which is made
up of 21 Directors – one from
every sugarcane growing area.


CANEGROWERS Australia is
the more commonly known name
of overarching national body,
Australian Cane Growers’ Council
Ltd (ACGC).

This vehicle allows all Australian
cane growers to present a
common voice in national
and international forums.

To inquire about membership, contact your local CANEGROWERS office

CANEGROWERS operates as a single organisational entity, representing its members’ interests at area and district level, and in state, national and international forums. They represent growers, directly and indirectly, on every important issue involved with the Australian raw sugar industry, ranging from purely local issues to matters of global importance.

Policy, strategic direction and the range of services provided are determined by practising cane grower members who are elected by the membership every three years.

The operations of CANEGROWERS are funded at all levels through annual fees paid by those growers who choose to become members, supplemented by income from various commercial activities. Members determine the amount of the membership fee, which is generally calculated on the basis of an amount per tonne of cane harvested.

Originally formed in 1926 as a statutory body, the Queensland Cane Growers Organisation (QCGO) has been transformed into a new unified organisation providing leadership, representation and services for its members at local, regional, state, national and international levels.

Structurally the organisation comprises autonomous business units at the various levels, which are controlled by elected grower directors.


In cane growing regions, grower-controlled companies operate CANEGROWERS offices from which professional staff provide a range of services and represent the special interests of members locally.

The original CANEGROWERS statutory base of a State peak body, 14 District Executives and 26 Area Committees has been converted into a modern group of independent corporations working together to promote and protect the interests of voluntary cane grower members. 

The corporate transformation had its origins in a switch to full voluntary membership in 2001. This was followed by establishment of 17 new CANEGROWERS corporations in 2004-05, creating a group of like-minded grower entities that share common ideals and values. 

This new corporate structure provides local autonomy and control of assets. The new corporations are well placed to deliver improved representative outcomes and member services. Local autonomy and direct representation plus input into the peak body are vital elements of an influential, united, statewide organisation that has the recognition of government.

Each company within the CANEGROWERS organisation has an interlinking Constitution with QCGO Ltd that facilitates common membership and direct representation of the local company on the Board of the peak body, Queensland Cane Growers Organisation Ltd. This ensures that QCGO Ltd’s strategic direction and policy deliberations reflect the views of all stakeholders.

Autonomous local corporations determine the scope of operations and services appropriate to their members. At the same time they are able to combine their resources to ensure a powerful voice for growers at state, national and international levels. 

The principal object of corporations, as defined in their Constitutions, is to represent and act for the benefit of all members. Because the organisation has voluntary membership it is important that outcomes achieved by the organisation are for the exclusive benefit of members.

The relevant local corporation owns all local assets. The prime purpose of each CANEGROWERS company is to represent the interests of and service the needs of members. Therefore, assets are applied for the benefit of members exclusively. Each Constitution specifically ensures that assets cannot be distributed back to members; this allows the organisation to maintain its not-for-profit, tax-free status.

STATE: The Board & Policy Council

The Policy Council is made up up the 21 grower representatives nominated by the 13 CANEGROWERS district companies. 

The Board consists of 9-persons, made up of one independent Director and 8 grower Directors elected by the Policy Council.



The CANEGROWERS organisation has a lengthy history of achievement on behalf of Queensland cane farming families.

The organisation was formally constituted in 1925 and restructured in 1926 although the need for a body to exclusively represent the interests of sugarcane growers was recognised at least 15 years earlier.

The passing of the miller plantation system and the opening of new lands by small farmers along Queensland’s coast was an era of struggle and heartbreak as well as achievement. Discontent among small farmers at their treatment by large mill owners prompted talk of forming a growers-only body to protect their interests.

In 1906 the Townsville Chamber of Commerce convened a meeting of farmers, millers and miller planters that resulted in the formation of the now defunct Australian Sugar Producers Association (ASPA). It soon became apparent that the miller-grower membership would prevent ASPA from siding with growers in disputes with mill owners. Consequently, growers began advocating ‘the urgent need for some representative body which would be able to speak with a voice of authority’ on behalf of growers. Groups of growers began forming representative bodies for small farmers.

In 1909, growers from Cairns, Mackay, Bundaberg, Isis, Maryborough and Northern New South Wales met in Bundaberg for the first conference of the Sugar Cane Growers Union of Australia. Although the fledgling organisation did not flourish, the seeds were sown for a strong organisation to represent cane growers exclusively. That dream became a reality on 14 December 1914 in Mackay when the United Cane Growers Association (UCGA) was formed at a meeting convened by the Pioneer River Farmers Association.

The UCGA expanded rapidly throughout the industry. An office was established in Brisbane in 1918 and the first General Secretary appointed.

In September that year 1918 the UCGA appointed the Producer’s Review (forerunner to Australian Canegrower) as its official journal. Annual Conferences were held from 1916 to 1927 when the organisation was disbanded following establishment in 1926 under Queensland Government legislation of a new growers’ organisation - now known as CANEGROWERS.

The Government moved to establish CANEGROWERS and other similar bodies because of the poor state of Queensland agriculture after World War I.  Although there was great potential for rural expansion, poor organisation of production and marketing was restricting progress. The Government concluded that unified organisation and representation of primary producers was essential to establish prosperous rural industries.

In March 1922, Premier EG Theodore announced a scheme for the complete re-organisation of agriculture to kick-start rural expansion as the engine of State economic and population growth.

A provisional Council of Agriculture was constituted, comprising representatives of government and the dairying, cane growing, fruit growing, wheat and general agricultural industries. In 1925, Local Producers Associations were organised on a commodity basis for the various industries. The Queensland Cane Growers Council (QCGC), District Executives and Mill Suppliers’ Committees were constituted for the sugar industry.

The original legislation was superceded in 1926 by the Primary Producers Organisation and Marketing Act which established the CANEGROWERS Council, District Executives and Mill Suppliers Committees in a form which would last for nearly 75 years. The Act also formed marketing boards for other rural industries.

The first meeting of the Queensland Cane Growers Council was held in The Boys’ School, Mackay, on 21 January 1926, presided over by President of the Council of Agriculture, Hon. W.Forgan Smith. First Annual Conference of the Queensland Cane Growers Association was held in Mackay in March 1927 chaired by George Johnson who served as QCGC Chairman from 1926 to 1946.