Six hundred Mackay district cane farmers have now completed the two-day BSES Integrated Weed Management Course.
The training satisfies the Reef Regulation requirement for the ground application of ametryn, atrazine, hexazinone or diuron.
The regulation requires that from 1 July 2010 anyone in the Wet Tropics, Burdekin Dry Tropics and Mackay Whitsunday catchments intending to apply or supervise the application of these herbicides to sugarcane crops from the ground must hold a statement of attainment issued by a registered training organisation stating that the person has successfully competed each of the following competencies: RTC3704 – prepare and apply chemicals; RTC3401 – control weeds; RTC3705 – transport, handle and store chemicals or hold an unrestricted commercial operator’s licence under the Agricultural Chemicals Distribution Control Act 1966.
This week, I am attending the Proserpine Sugar Milling Cooperative AGM. I look forward to an update on the progress of their furfural project.
The Mackay Sugar harvest has swung into action and early sugar results look encouraging. Mackay Sugar and Ergon Energy have a number of active safety alerts to ensure that farmers and the public employ safe practice around the harvest.
I encourage farmers to be extra careful as tourists and many new comers are not fully aware of the safety issues surrounding the harvest.
Martin Ferguson, Minister for Resources and Energy, recently announced a national trade deficit in crude oil, refined products and LPG of $16 billion per year and estimated to be $30 billion by 2015.
The national energy resource assessment released earlier this year says that, in the absence of major oil discovery, domestic crude oil production will continue to decrease while consumption is forecast to increase by an average of 1.3 per cent per annum out to 2030.
Australia has moved from oil self sufficiency in 2000 to being currently less than 50% self sufficient, to a projected 20% self sufficiency by 2030.
Renewable energy is clearly a major opportunity for Australia and the sugar industry. It requires a consistent and steady hand on policy settings to ensure the realisation of that potential and not the erosion of it, which has unfortunately been the experience to date.