The Australian Sugar Milling Council (ASMC) welcomed today’s announcement from the Palaszczuk Government to cut irrigation water costs for Queensland’s sugarcane growers by 15 per cent for three years from July 2021 if re-elected.

“Increasing overseas competition, depressed global sugar prices, and rising production costs compounded by the far-reaching impacts of the coronavirus pandemic has subjected the industry to unprecedented stress,” ASMC Chief Executive Officer, David Pietsch said.

“A price cut will reverse a decades long trend of SunWater’s regulated water charges increasing annually and will now make water more affordable for the two-thirds of the state’s canegrowers that rely on irrigation.

“Affordable water provides cane growers with a greater incentive to increase their water usage and take full advantage of their water access entitlements. 

Labor’s decision to cut irrigation water charges by 15% from 1 July next year follows pledges from the LNP and KAP to reduce water prices by 20% and 25% respectively.

“Regardless of the election result, there are now commitments to reduce water charges across the political spectrum,” he added.

“The resulting boost in cane productivity will translate into an increase in sugar, molasses and renewable power generation that will immediately improve mill viability and support regional jobs,” he said.

Mr Pietsch said ASMC calculations[1] estimated that a 15% cut in water prices would generate around $132 million in additional economic activity over four years, or around $100 million over the three years 2021/22 to 2023/24 of the scheme. A 25% cut was estimated to deliver $220m in community benefits.

“The Queensland sugar industry generates more than $4 billion to the Queensland economy and supports more than 23,000 jobs throughout the State,” Mr Pietsch said.

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