Steps to a sweet future for Queensland’s sugar regions
CANEGROWERS is urging Queensland’s political parties to adopt a list of clear policy commitments to secure a prosperous future for cane farming businesses and the families and regional communities that rely on them.
“Sugar is Queensland’s second largest agricultural export adding up to $3 billion to the economy each year,” CANEGROWERS Chairman Paul Schembri said. “Tens of thousands of Queenslanders rely on the industry directly and indirectly for their livelihoods.
“To be able to continue as a vibrant and valuable contributor to regional and local economies, our cane farming members need an environment in which their businesses can flourish.
“Our industry’s new and competitive sugar marketing structures have to be maintained, electricity prices must come down and innovation and sustainability need to be supported.
“We are urging our communities to watch the campaigning closely for those candidates and parties which can deliver on these crucial platforms,” Mr Schembri said.
The key issues and actions for CANEGROWERS in the 2017 Queensland State Election are available on the website http://www.canegrowers.com.au/page/advocacy/queensland-state-election
Grow a competitive and prosperous sugarcane industry
• Maintain legislation that supports grower choice and competition in sugar marketing services.
• Reinstate and maintain Queensland Government funding to Sugar Research Australia, in real terms, to $4.3 million per annum.
• Commit to a long-term and larger biofuel mandate with opportunities for growers to share in the opportunities.
• Invest in water and road infrastructure to support continual industry development.
Guarantee fair costs of production
• Reduce electricity prices by 33% by taking actions such as writing down Ergon’s regulated asset base by 50%.
• Introduce a suite of fair tariffs for food and fibre production.
• Support on-farm energy efficiency and alternative energy projects to $10m over three years.
Create an environment that promotes productivity
• Remove regulations on farming practices in Great Barrier Reef catchments.
• Base achievable water quality targets for Great Barrier Reef catchments on science.
• Recognise Smartcane BMP as the most enduring way for industry to meet obligations to improve water quality.
• Maintain provisions for vegetation management for high value agriculture and high value irrigated agriculture land.
Support industry sustainability programs
• Commit $7.2 million to Smartcane BMP over four years.
• Commit $9.6 million to four-year program addressing the water use efficiency, power use efficiency and productivity nexus.