A show of unprecedented grower solidarity took place in Townsville today, as grower groups from right across the sugarcane growing sector came together, unified in their heightened resolve to uphold grower rights and calling on a fair go for growers and the rural communities they support.
According to CANEGROWERS Chairman, Paul Schembri, it was a momentous occasion which saw across-the-board solidarity from growers against having their long standing rights wrested from them.
Burdekin District Cane Growers represented by Mario Barbagallo (Invicta), Rob Malaponte (Kalamia) and Dean Sgroi (Pioneer) have been quick to underscore their participation in the collective grower action against the miller moves. “Growers have a major investment in the industry and we simply want a fair go,” they said.
“The marketing issue which threatens the very viability of the future of sugarcane growers across the State, has bought the industry back together – in a united front against having their rights taken from them.”
All the cane growing group supplying Wilmar mills, Cofco mills and MSF Sugar mills, supported by cane growers supplying all other mills in the State, are unified on this issue.
“All sugarcane grower groups are unified in wanting government action to rectify the commercial imbalance. They are being disadvantaged by moves afoot by big business which would strip them of their rights and say over the very mechanism by which they get paid,” agree CANEGROWERS representatives from across the State, including Tully’s Tom Harney, Innisfail’s Joe Marano, Gordonvale’s Jeff Day and Ingham’s Steve Guazzo who was at the meeting representing the CANEGROWERS collectives in Wilmar areas including Plane Creek, Ingham and the Burdekin.
“Industry has no future unless grower confidence is restored by rectifying the commercial imbalance which will be created.”
Don Murday of the Australian Cane Farmers’ Association says this is a case of big business squeezing growers. “Growers are united in pushing back with their grower choice model which supports grower investment, cane production, mill throughput and employment across the industry,” he says
According to Mr Schembri, all the grower groups are likeminded in their resolve and there are no plausible alternatives other than to have government intervene for pro-competition, for once and for all.
“There is simply no alternative. The growing sector is putting millers on notice that they will not accept anything less than a fair go for growers,” says Mr Schembri.
- Paul Schembri | CANEGROWERS Chairman | (Please call Suzi Moore on 0427 641 239 to arrange all interviews with Paul Schembri today)
- Don Murday | Chairman ACFA | 0418 774 499
- Russ McNee | On behalf of the Burdekin District Cane Growers [Invicta, Pioneer and Kalamia] (Wilmar) | 0499 960 006
- Steve Guazzo | CANEGROWERS Herbert River (Wilmar) | 0418 878 403
- Tom Harney | CANEGROWERS Tully (COFCO) | 0427 028 631
- Joe Marano | CANEGROWERS Innisfail (MSF sugar) | 0407 160 882
- Jeff Day | CANEGROWERS Cairns (MSF Sugar) | 0409 264 263