The Queensland Government and MSF Sugar will investigate the feasibility of potential industry adjacent to the Mulgrave Mill as part of the proposed Cairns South State Development Area (SDA).
Treasurer and Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt and Mike Barry CEO of MSF Sugar today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Queensland Government and MSF Sugar.
Mr Pitt said potential industrial development of land adjacent to the Mulgrave Mill would be considered in addition to the existing proposed Cairns South SDA, which would be reduced in size to offset the land area being proposed adjacent to the mill.
“This MOU sets out a balance between supporting the future industrial development of the region, while also ensuring the long term protection of suitable land for sugar cane production,” Mr Pitt said.
“The Queensland government has consulted and listened to feedback and we have now developed an alternative proposal that, through a range of initiatives, meets the needs of one of the biggest stakeholders and delivers the industrial land needed for future Cairns growth.
“We have been working with MSF Sugar and have agreed to consider some of the area adjacent to the Mulgrave Mill for future industrial development.
“This, in addition to some of the land included in the existing proposed Cairns South SDA, would address the predicted future shortage of industrial land supply in the region, while achieving our goal of no net loss of land that is suitable for sugar cane production.
“SDAs are about supporting industry and this new proposal is recognition of the importance of the sugar cane industry to employment and the Far North Economy.
“In essence, we’re talking about an ‘industrial’ SDA and an ‘agricultural’ SDA that together provide certainty for the future of the Mulgrave Mill and would allow more people the opportunity to work closer to where they live.
“The Cairns SDA will create economic and employment opportunities for the Gordonvale area and the fast growing southern corridor of Cairns – including the future community of Mt Peter – into the medium-long term and we want to make sure we’re getting it right”.
Mr Barry said today MSF Sugar and the Queensland Government had agreed to work together to ensure good quality agricultural land was made available as well as identifying potential land for industry.
“Today’s agreement ensures moving forward, the proposed Cairns South SDA will complement MSF Sugar’s future plans for the Mulgrave Mill and provide investment certainty for ourselves and for our growers,” Mr Barry said.
“We currently have $150 million worth of planned investment at the Gordonvale site, including a cogeneration facility known as a green energy power station and a biorefinery.
“Our investment decisions for the mill are made on the basis of long-term protection for productive agricultural land in the region, and today’s agreement restores some certainty around security of land that is suitable for sugar cane production.
“We’re pleased to see that the government has responded to the significant concerns raised by the industry as part of the community consultation process.”
The proposed Cairns South SDA intends to define future land for industry, infrastructure corridors and major public works established to promote economic development.