AUSTRALIA’s sugar production could be significantly increased to create jobs, generate better economic outcomes, and produce cleaner energy if government red tape was reduced.

That’s according to the Australian Sugar Milling Council, which has delivered a comprehensive case to the Queensland Government for reducing regulatory overload to support the revitalisation of the sugar industry.

ASMC economics, policy and trade director David Rynne said the industry was currently in a state of “regulatory overload”.

“Over the past 15 years the sugar industry has been subject to significant policy uncertainty and additional regulation and charges from a range of agencies and government-owned corporations,” Mr Rynne said.

In ASMC’s Sugar Policy Insightspublished this week, Mr Rynne said the sugar industry’s revitalisation was based on three key pillars:

  • Increasing cane and sugar yields, decreasing operational costs.
  • Increasing, or at least maintaining the area where sugarcane is grown.
  • Increasing revenues from complementary, diversified, value-added products.

“ASMC’s analysis of government regulatory interventions and cost impositions on the sugar industry make a compelling argument that cumulatively, domestic regulation is stalling industry revitalisation and a more sustainable future for the regional communities it supports,” Mr Rynne said.

“Revitalising the sugar industry will involve working closely with government departments across eight key areas including water and energy charges, access to capital, self-regulation incentives, improved land protections in state planning policy, revenue diversification incentives, better understanding the industry’s viability, and ensuring access to human capital.”

Mr Rynee said the industry was committed to supporting the Queensland Government’s red-tape reduction ambitions.

These have demonstrated by the establishment of the Office of Productivity and Red Tape reduction within Queensland Treasury, and the Queensland Productivity Commission’s publication of its Improving Regulationresearch paper, he said.