COVID-19 sugarcane industry updates

The impact of the COVID-19 virus is being felt across the sugar industry as it is in our communities and around the world. CANEGROWERS will continue to serve sugarcane growers through these enormously volatile times.

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This page is being updated as more information becomes available.
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Health and safety

CANEGROWERS has produced a two-page Sugarcane Farm COVID-19 Guide which is available for download here or by clicking the image. It contains information on minimising the risk to people on your farm and what to do if someone becomes ill.

Queensland Health requires a Workplace Health Management Plan to be submitted if any staff or contractors are employed from interstate OR are Queensland residents not staying at their permanent place of residence while they work. It is not mandatory to have a Health Plan if you only employ staff and contractors who live locally and go home after work but it is recommended that you do so to satisfy WH&S obligations. A template for a Health Plan including instructions on lodging it is available as a Word document to download here. To learn more about Health Management Plans for businesses employing workers the Department of Agriculture has recorded a podcast which can be found here

Other information and resources to help farms comply with measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 are here:

Sugar Research Australia has produced a farm hygiene video. SRA's Leader for Disease Management Dr Rob Magerey outlines cleaning measures for surfaces incorporating advice from the World Health Organisation. Watch the video on YouTube here

Workforce management


Do you need farm labour now or in the near future and your usual pattern of hiring is disrupted?
These suggestions may help:


Are you employing someone who needs to travel from elsewhere?
Restrictions are changing depending on cases and there may be different conditions depending on which borders a worker needs to cross to get to your farm. The NFF website contains the information about all COVID-19 border controls A worker should also check their eligibility for and need to apply for a Queensland border pass here

To learn more about Health Management Plans for businesses employing workers the Department of Agriculture has recorded a podcast which can be found here


Business and farm management


The Queensland Government has a range of assistance measures including payroll tax and power bill relief which may be relevant for farm businesses. Information is available on the Business Queensland website:


Ergon is crediting the $500 relief payment to all business electricity accounts with eligible usage less than 100MWh. If a farm pump is linked to a household account, the household $200 credit will apply and growers will have to have the pump moved to a business account to capture the full benefit. See the FAQs on the Ergon website.


The Federal Government has implemented an economic stimulus package aimed at cushioning the impact of COVID-19 with measures are targeted at supporting casual workers, sole-traders, retirees and those on income support, and at enabling small businesses to retain employees and to stay in business. Information and supporting fact sheets are online:

The National Farmers' Federation has included information on the measures relevant to farmers on its COVID-19 information page:


WEBINARS for businesses in agriculture
BDO, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, is delivering a series of webinars  to provide support, help minimise the impact and lead discussions on the key issues around the COVID-19 response. The whole series is here


Here are the links to watch particular episodes:
Supporting Agriculture with business continuity planning & managing supply chain disruption
Practical approaches and strategies to documenting your business continuity planning
Evaluating and refining your plan (including a look at WH&S strategies and the Qld Health Plan checklist)


Services and Programs

CANEGROWERS is representing the industry on Queensland State Disaster Management committees and working groups that meet at least weekly to consider supply chain, workplace health and safety, workforce availability and business continuity impacts. We are also meeting at least weekly with the National Farmers' Federation and the Federal Agriculture Minister to talk about the national policy response.


CANEGROWERS has convened an Australian sugar industry working group to assess and plan for the short, medium and long term impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak. It brings together on regular teleconferences, grower representatives with people from the mills, marketers and port facilities to work through possible scenarios and ensure there is cooperation at every level. Read the full media release here


While the situation is constantly changing, please be assured that CANEGROWERS is continuing, as always, to work on your behalf. Your CANEGROWERS staff will be supporting sugarcane growers through this time of upheaval although at times it may be necessary to change some of the ways in which we operate.


If you are a CANEGROWERS member and are not receiving Grower Updates by email from CEO Dan Galligan please email us at



CANEGROWERS Insurance remains open for business. Our network of brokers is available to assist you with all types of insurance, including claims.
Find your local broker's phone number and email on the CANEGROWERS Insurance page.




Do you still have a question about COVID-19 and the sugarcane industry?

Email CANEGROWERS and we'll try to help