While the Queensland State Election is over, the CANEGROWERS campaign continues for a policy environment in which the sugarcane industry and regional communities and economies can thrive and grow.
“I congratulate all of the candidates at the weekend’s election for their dedication to the state and particularly the Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and her ALP team on their win,” CANEGROWERS Chairman Paul Schembri said.
“As grower representatives, we will be on the doorstep as soon as relevant Ministers are announced and we will be ready to work alongside the government. The Premier will need to consider Ministerial appointments carefully to ensure regional Queensland has a direct and effective conduit into government.
“The election of a new parliament provides the opportunity for a fresh approach by the Palaszczuk Government.
“We’ll begin the conversation with the 8-point plan of measures that CANEGROWERS advocated for during the campaign – measures to remove the obstacles in the way of the sugarcane industry and unleash its potential.”
Top of the list for CANEGROWERS is the need to confront the myths and misconceptions on which the regulation of farm practices in Great Barrier Reef catchments in based.
“After ten years of ALP reef regulations, it is time for an urgent review,” Mr Schembri said. “Farmers have done a lot of work to balance the needs of water quality for the resilience of the Great Barrier Reef with maintaining productivity and profitability.
“The global market recognises the sustainability credentials of our industry – we just need the Queensland Government to do so.
“The regulatory approach is outdated and unnecessary.”
CANEGROWERS welcomed the acknowledgement from the Labor Party in the final week of the campaign that water costs for irrigators are too high and need to be cut.
“The proposal to deliver cuts to water prices at two different rates for horticulture and broadacre crops, including sugarcane, needs to be worked through,” Mr Schembri said. “We can’t see how the differential pricing system, with some crops eligible for a 15% water price cut and others a 50% cut, is going to work.
“We will be encouraging the new Queensland Government to make good its promise but to take a simpler approach and help all of agriculture by reducing the cost of all irrigation water by 50%.
“We are an industry producing 400,000 hectares of stored energy each year – it’s a renewable resource with great potential and we’re ready to talk to the government on how it can help us realise opportunities.”