Local sugarcane growers are hoping a generous investment from Douglas Shire Council can help transform the struggling industry as they prepare to take control of the mill after it’s recent acquisition by Far Northern Milling Pty Ltd.
Council has approved a payment of up to $250,000 to help with the transition, and also support plans to create a ‘Daintree Bio Precinct’ to tap into renewable energy opportunities and create valuable by-products at a processing facility adjacent to the mill.
Australian Cane Farmers Association Chairman Don Murday, who is also a director of Far Northern Milling, said the industry had been fragile for some time and the investment was an incredibly pleasing outcome.
“Douglas Shire Council have shown real leadership and support at a critical time during what has been a lengthy process,” Mr Murday said.
“It is incredibly pleasing when all stakeholders work together to create a solution that benefits both the industry and the community.”
Mayor Julia Leu said the pending acquisition could be a historic moment for the region.
“If tourism is the backbone of our economy, then the Mossman Mill is the heartbeat,” she said.
“Douglas Shire has hundreds of jobs, many small businesses and countless families who depend on a strong sugar cane growing sector.
“Here is an opportunity to save the industry our region was built on and invest in an economy-boosting project that sows new seeds for growth in Douglas Shire agriculture.”
The Far Northern Milling company plans to produce higher value products once the mill’s future is stabilised.
Director Rajinder Singh said growers have already been introduced to credible international companies that produce high-value products through environmentally-friendly processes.
“Our initial focus will be green chemicals,” he said.
“We believe we have a strong prospect of attracting these companies to the Bio Precinct.
“Their processes and products are consistent with the environmental credentials of the Mossman and Daintree area.”