Late last week at a Canegrowers Policy Council meeting, Queensland Minister for Environment Steven Miles signed a commitment to the sugarcane industry recognising decades of grower investment in environmental outcomes.
The Cane Changer commitment was signed in front of representatives from all sugarcane growing regions in Queensland.
While as a collective we remain opposed to regulation of farming practices in the catchments of the Great Barrier Reef, we as an industry also remain committed to the Smartcane BMP program as the most enduring direction for our industry to meet its obligations to improve water quality targets set by the State Government.
The Cane Changer project, backed by the Queensland Government and delivered by Behaviour Innovation in the Wet Tropics region, is unique in Australian agriculture.
It is a platform recognising the work being undertaken on our cane farms to protect the Great Barrier Reef and progressing planning for environmentally sustainable practices. It puts growers and their businesses at the centre of responsible land stewardship, and sets the record straight.
This project is being rolled out in the Innisfail, Tully and Cairns cane growing regions with plans to extend its reach in the future.
The document signed by Steven Miles recognises the important role cane growers play in the state of Queensland and acknowledges the ongoing efforts of Queensland cane growers to improve their farming practices, especially as they relate to the health of the Great Barrier Reef.
Cane Changer also commits the State Government to working collaboratively with the sugar industry for a better future for the industry and the environment.
This sends a significant message to the cane industry on many levels, and we are pleased to have the government’s commitment to recognise the time, money and creativity growers have invested to achieve favourable environmental outcomes.
In just five months, 109cane growers have signed Cane Changer commitments, and this momentum is growing.
In the past 20 years, the pace of innovation and change in the Queensland sugarcane industry has been rapid, driven by the need to remain profitable in a competitive world sugar market while minimising the impact of our farming practices on the wider environmental front, particularly the Great Barrier Reef.
And now our industry is proud to have its own best management practice program, Smartcane BMP, that is strengthening and driving that process further.