Sold: Moss­man Mill-ions

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - PAUL MIL­TON BUT­LER

MOSS­MAN Cen­tral Mill Com­pany work­ers gath­ered on Tues­day to lis­ten to chair­man Bill Phillips-turner ex­plain their jobs were safe af­ter be­ing taken over by Mackay Sugar Limited.

For the past four months Mr Phillips-turner, along with the mill’s man­age­ment team, has been in ne­go­ti­a­tions with the Mackay mill’s man­age­ment work­ing out the de­tails of the sale of the Moss­man mill which was bought for $25 mil­lion.

The sale of the mill came with a con­di­tion that the Moss­man staff must be re­tained along with all of their en­ti­tle­ments work­ers have ac­crued, ac­cord­ing to Mr Phillips-turner.

“Ev­ery­thing will re­main the same and if some­one has worked for the Moss­man Mill for the past 10 years and con­tin­ues to do so then their en­ti­tle­ments will fol­low them to the new com­pany,” Mr Phillips-turner said.

“Their time will not start at zero un­der the new com­pany, if some­one has 10 years’ ser­vice, or more, they will start with their years of ser­vice un­der the new com­pany.”

Mr Phillips-turner said the com­pany has been sold be­cause it will be able to per­form bet­ter and have ac­cess to more cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion pro­grams in the com­ing years un­der Mackay Sugar Limited.

“The rea­sons for sell­ing the mill to Mackay, is that Mackay Sugar is a well-man­aged, well cap­i­talised growerowned public com­pany with di­ver­si­fied in­ter­ests in the Aus­tralian sugar in­dus­try,” Mr Phillips-turner said.

“The com­pany can also demon­strate a sound and well-rea­soned busi­ness strat­egy go­ing for­ward and this puts a lot of con­fi­dence in the long-term fu­ture of the Moss­man Mill and will lead to ben­e­fits for all stake­hold­ers.

“But this will put a lot of con­fi­dence back into the com­mu­nity which is a good thing.

“And Mackay Sugar is com­mit­ted to a strong QSL (Queens­land Sugar Limited), as an im­por­tant player in the Aus­tralian Sugar In­dus­try and Moss­man Mill man­age­ment be­lieves this is a crit­i­cal fac­tor, par­tic­u­larly in the mar­ket­ing of our sugar.”

That con­fi­dence will be given a kick-start with the mill ex­pected to crush 550,000 tonnes of cane this year, which is up on last year’s crush of 410,000 tonnes of cane, ac­cord­ing to the gen­eral man­ager of the Moss­man mill, Alan John­stone.

The other pos­i­tive for the Moss­man mill is that Mackay Sugar, which at present has 77,000 hectares of cane un­der pro­duc­tion, will be seek­ing to lift the yield that the mill will be able to crush in the fu­ture.

Cane un­der pro­duc­tion in the Moss­man re­gion is 7300 hectares but Mackay’s man­age­ment has ded­i­cated peo­ple on the ground seek­ing out land and farm­ers who will be able to grow cane to lift the crush­ing yield for the Moss­man Sugar Mill.

The mill is de­signed to crush in ex­cess of one mil­lion tonnes of cane an­nu­ally.

Mackay Sugar’s harvest for this year is es­ti­mated to ex­ceed 5.5 mil­lion tonnes of cane. It has a 25 per cent in­ter­est in Sugar Australia and New Zealand Sugar, both do­mes­tic re­fin­ing and mar­ket­ing busi­nesses, and is con­struct­ing a $120 mil­lion co-gen­er­a­tion plant in Mackay which is to be com­pleted by next Fe­bru­ary.

The sale of the mill is ex­pected to be com­pleted by May 25 and handed over to the new own­ers on June 1.

Safe: Moss­man mill work­ers gather to find out if their jobs are safe af­ter the takeover

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