A $2.5 million Federal Government grant will boost the sugarcane industry allowing cane from Maryborough and further afield to be processed at the Isis Central Sugar Mill.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the funding will be used to build a transloader facility in Childers to transport sugarcane from Maryborough, Gympie and the Sunshine Coast.

“The closure of the Maryborough Sugar Mill left a number of growers in the region in limbo,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“An agreement with Isis Central Sugar Mill, which is being finalised, means that cane will now be crushed, however, infrastructure is required in order to get the sugarcane to the Isis Mill.”

“The $2.5 million Community Development Grant will go towards the construction of a transloader to offload the cane. It will then be taken by rail to the Isis Mill.”

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said he had been a strong advocate for the sugar industry.

“The Federal Government has provided $6.2 million in funding to Isis Central Sugar Mill in recent years: $5 million to construct 36km of cane railway track from Cordalba to Wallaville and $1.2 million for the Gayndah Regional Irrigation Development project,” Mr Pitt said.

“It’s unfortunate the Queensland State Labor Government hasn’t shown the sugarcane industry any support, in what is ultimately, a transport issue.

“It’s growers and workers at Maryborough Sugar Mill, in the Member for Maryborough – who is also the Assistant Minister for Regional Roads – electorate, who are effected by the mill closure and the State Government still has done nothing.

“The Federal Government have been doing the heavy lifting right through the Covid pandemic, and continues to, with the State Government refusing to assist in getting the sugarcane from Maryborough, Gympie and the Sunshine Coast to Isis Mill.”

Isis Mill matches funding amount

Isis Central Sugar Mill chief executive officer John Gorringe said the Federal Government’s $2.5 million in funding would be matched by the Isis Mill.

“We’re very grateful to the Federal Government and our local Federal Member Keith Pitt for continuing to support the Isis Central Sugar Mill,” he said.

Almost an additional 600,000 tonnes of cane is expected to be transported from the Maryborough Mill and surrounding areas for crushing at Isis.

“The transloader facility, which we expect to have operational before the crushing season starts, will allow Isis Mill to take cane from Maryborough and surrounding areas.”

Preliminary excavation works are currently underway to accommodate a tramline extension to the transloader facility which will be located near the Childers QFRS building and Industrial Estate off Goodwood Road.

The work involves construction of a spur line where the current Isis Mill rail line crosses the Bruce Highway south of Childers.

The Isis Central Sugar Mill crushed just short of 809,000 tonnes in the 2020 season which again was impacted by prolonged dry conditions.

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