Sugarcane growers using water from state-owned irrigation schemes are set to be better off regardless of which party wins Saturday’s Queensland Election.
“We welcome the ALP’s announcement of a 15% cut in water charges for sugarcane growers,” CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan said.
“This price reduction has the potential to save growers up to $15,000 a year which will make a big difference with the world sugar price low and electricity costs for pumping still very high.
“But we do have plenty of questions about the two-tier promise the Labor Party has announced with fruit and vegetable growers set to see a 50% cut to their water costs.
“There are many, many CANEGROWERS members who grow both sugarcane and a vegetable crop pumping water for both from the same source and through the same infrastructure.
“We’ve never been in a situation before where the destination paddock has dictated the water price.”
Today’s ALP announcement follows a Liberal National Party commitment to cut irrigation water charges by almost 20% by changing the underlying fundamentals of the water pricing system, something that would have a different impact in different areas.
“We welcome the acknowledgement by both of the major parties that water is a critical but costly input for the future of agriculture in Queensland and that lower prices are needed,” Mr Galligan said.
“Both commitments approach the long-held position of CANEGROWERS that water prices need to come down by 20%.
“While they raise questions, we look forward to these being worked through in consultation with industry and whomever forms government next week.
“The flow-on effects from profitable irrigated agriculture to the rest of the economy can be substantial.
“For every $1 invested by CANEGROWERS members in growing sugarcane, a further $6.40 is generated in economic activity in Queensland.”