Revitalisation plan released
CANEGROWERS has released a series of television advertisements called the “six Rs” which outline a blueprint to help reinvigorate the sugar industry. This is their argument.
Re-invest: The State Government needs to double its funding for research and development from $2.8 million to $5.6 million annually to complement the industry’s own $22 million annual investment. Government funding for R & D has halved from $4.7 million eight years ago.
Remove: The inefficient regulatory costs. Water and electricity need to be removed because the water and electricity costs are fast becoming prohibitive. Irrigation is now 25 percent of grower costs. Increases in water and electricity prices for growers need to be capped to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
Reduce: The reduction of green tape is a high priority in order to accelerate innovation because cane growers are spending an increasing percentage of time filling out paperwork for no environmental advantage, and $10-million a year is being wasted on highly inefficient reef regulatory activities.
Reinvigorate: Growth needs to be reinvigorated with the ability of the industry to expand into green-field areas which presently is limited by barriers such as government regulation and conflicting policy goals - commit to a program to identify green-field expansion sites, taking into account environmental constraints, water availability and investment needed for infrastructure (transport and milling).
Retain: And enhance biosecurity measures by maintaining present State Government investment levels of $82 million into bio-security annually, recognising the considerable industry investment in this critical activity.
Rebuild and re-skill: Retention and re-skilling of the workforce is needed by committing to the development of an industryspecific workforce attraction, retention and skilling initiative. A commitment to a funding program of $2 million annually for three years to fund the attraction, retention and skilling needs of the Queensland sugarcane workforce must be a priority.