Irrigation water pricing is shaping up to a big issue on voting day for farmers in the marginal electorate of Burdekin.

The Australian Sugar Milling Council commissioned a poll of 537 voters in the electorate, conducted late last week, which found three-quarters of voters agree the state government should reduce irrigation water charges to boost the sugar industry.

The poll also found 75 per cent of voters felt the government should, where possible, reduce costs imposed on the sector, including reducing water charges to support local jobs.

ASMC chief executive officer David Pietsch said the poll clearly demonstrated the views of people working and living in regional Queensland and their support for the sector.

“It’s gratifying to see the strong support for the sugar industry and the recognition of the role we can play,” Mr Pietsch said.

“The poll found 78pc of voters surveyed agreed the sugar industry is important to the state’s recovery from the COVID downturn.

“Whether they are working in the sector or not, regional Queenslanders know that a strong sugar industry provides jobs and underpins local communities.

“The sugar industry generates $4 billion for the economy – a contribution that means a lot to the 23,000 Queenslanders who depend on the sector, either directly or indirectly, to support themselves and their families.”

Mr Pietsch said ASMC had been working with all political parties to secure commitments to reduce irrigation charges.

He said independent research commissioned by ASMC showed a 25pc reduction in water charges over four years would deliver up to $220 million in community benefit and a net increase of 140 jobs.

“The Liberal National Party and Katter’s Australian Party have already committed to water charge reductions, while Labor is considering our proposal for a 25pc reduction in water charges over four years,” he said.

“Water charges have increased on average 4pc every year for the last 10 years.

“In May, the Queensland government announced it would freeze water charges for 12 months, but left the door open to further increases over the following three years.”

The seat of Burdekin is held by the LNP’s Dale Last by 467 votes.