Cane farmer representative body, Australian Cane Farmers Association (ACFA), has confirmed its commitment to work with the newly elected Queensland Government and will move swiftly to engage with them.
The statement comes after Governor de Jersey swore in Annastacia Palaszczuk and her interim cabinet on Saturday following the State’s election held on January 31.
ACFA Chairman, Don Murday, outlined his eagerness to engage with the new Government and its Ministers as soon as possible.
“We have a number of concerns in the sugar industry which feel like they have been on hold until an outcome of the election could be confirmed. Now that we have a result, it is imperative that we engage with the new Government to push ahead with these high priority issues,” Mr. Murday said.
One such issue includes the marketing of raw sugar in Queensland which has been a contentious issue over the past year, with the industry’s farmers locked in a battle to hold onto transparency of the marketing of their sugar. This has been brought on by the announcement by three millers of their withdrawal from industry-owned raw sugar marketer Queensland Sugar Limited (QSL).
“We are unclear on where Labor stands on the future of raw sugar marketing in Queensland so this will be at the top of the agenda with Ms. Palaszczuk and the new Agricultural Minister Bill Byrne. It is vital that they fully understand the complexities of the issue and appreciate the urgency needed to come to a resolution which is fair to all parties,” Mr. Murday added.
The industry has also been plagued by ever increasing input costs including electricity prices and land rates which Mr. Murday also says needs urgent attention.
“Colossal electricity prices which are crippling farmers in irrigation areas, will also be high on our list to address with the new Government and ACFA will continue to support the industry campaign for energy prices to be reduced by 33%.
“We will also engage with Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning, Jackie Trad, in regards to extreme imbalance of land rates throughout sugar regions in Queensland. Our investigations indicate that regions adjacent to smaller urban centres are rated far higher than those adjacent to larger communities.”
Mr. Murday continued to say that the industry’s best management practice (BMP), Smartcane BMP, is also vital to ensuring the sustainable future of the industry and called on Labor to ensure that the agreement with the past Government is honored and funding continued.
Don Murday- ACFA Chairman- 0418 774 499
Amanda Sheppard- Communications- (07) 3839 1900 or 0429 459 497