27 May 2016: Five key election issues for sugar region economies
CANEGROWERS will be urging all political parties standing in ‘sugar seats’ this federal election to commit to measures which secure the future growth and prosperity of this important Queensland industry.
“We are seeking commitments and assurances around five policy areas vital for a profitable future for our farmers and the regional economies and communities our industry supports,” CANEGROWERS Chairman Paul Schembri said at a meeting of the grower organisation’s Policy Council in Townsville this week.
“Sugar is a valuable export commodity for Australia, the second largest for Queensland, with 80% of our production going offshore. 81,000 people work directly and indirectly in our industry which contributes $2 billion to the Australian economy each year.
“But there are a number of issues which need to be addressed by the next Australian Government, and all politicians, for Australia to maintain its place in the competitive global sugar market.”
The key areas highlighted in the CANEGROWERS Federal Election priorities include:
The cost of redundant and obsolete assets must be removed from the calculation of network tariffs so farmers can access affordable power for irrigated crop production.
Rule out taxing a single ingredient in a single food item and commit to continuing whole-of-diet nutrition education programmes.
Include sugar in all international trade agreements and remove technical barriers to implementing agreements.
Boost the government support to growers who are changing to best management practices to deliver water quality outcomes to the Great Barrier Reef.
Research and Development
Increase total government expenditure on agricultural R&D from 0.5% of gross value of production to 1.5% by 2019.
The full election priorities document can be found here http://bit.ly/1Whgq63
Over the remaining weeks of this election campaign, CANEGROWERS elected representatives and staff will be meeting with candidates in their local areas, explaining these policy priorities to them and seeking their support for these measures.