Re­vi­tal­i­sa­tion plan re­leased

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

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.

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