Time flies when you’re having fun
It’s the best thing we could get, we’ve got security now and we don’t have to worry about trying to sell our equipment if the mill fell over, now we can upgrade our equipment. We were worried, the price was too low for too long, we kept hanging on and our equipment and farms are all run down and I don’t think we could’ve dug our way out of the hole without outside help.
It’s a good thing to happen otherwise I think we probably wouldn’t have had a long term future the way we were continuing. We didn’t really have a lot of options and it’s good to see a lifeline out there, a lifeline for the town, the growers and the workers. Everything has to take a due course, if it had come five to 10 years earlier it might’ve been a lot different but in the end the longer the wait more something good comes of it and we hope this is it.
Everything is a lot more positive than it has been in a long, long time. The main things that we can take away from it is we do not have to worry about the mill being foreclosed upon by the banks any longer, we have security of the mill. For a couple of years now it has been a worry but now we have some certainty we have a mill to send our cane to. MACKAY Sugar chairman Andrew Cappello visited the Mossman Central Mill and met with cane farmers yesterday.
A shareholder meeting was held on Tuesday night, where record numbers arrived to meet Mossman Mill’s future chairman and Mr Cappello visited numerous farmers yesterday to discuss the takeover.
“Our first interaction with Mossman was pretty positive, I spoke to growers and shareholders and need to follow up on concerns they have addressed but no major negatives came out,” Mr Cappello said.
“I had a good meeting with the agricultural services MAS in view of operations here, when productivity increases we will need to beef up the services and put more resources in.
“We need to make sure the whole application works and put in resources to increase productivity up here and supporting the growers and mill to make sure it happens.”
Mackay Sugar currently has three mills and holds monthly meetings and as of June when Mackay take over, Maurie Maughan will represent the Mossman Mill. because he still wants to work, he will take off some time to catch and eat some of his favourite fish, coral trout and barramundi.
After starting as an apprentice, Mr Ziegler then worked through the ranks and became a leading hand on the locomotives that haul the trucks of cane and then in 2004 he became a field maintenance supervisor.
Mr Ziegler has spent his whole life in Mossman and has loved every minute of it and said the young blokes coming up through the ranks should be able to make a good life for themselves under the new ownership.
The major focus for Mossman will be to establish more land under cane and increase the capacity of Mossman over time, but in the short-term Mackay Sugar will mainly watch current operations.
“The first six months will be crushing season and we will let that run as it always runs and take time to incorporate into our operations,” Mr Cappello said.
“Productivity services is our priority and cane expansion to grow the Mossman Mill business with the support from local community.
“It’s not just sugar cane, it’s about the region.” AFTER 43 years working for the Mossman Sugar Mill John Ziegler wants to know “where has it gone?”
“I just cannot believe how quickly the time had gone,” Mr Ziegler said.
“I look over my shoulder and I see this distant kid who started here in February 1970 as an apprentice motor mechanic and here I am today, 43 years later retiring - it’s very surreal.”
Mr Ziegler retired last Friday and was offered employment with the new company under the takeover by Mackay Sugar Limited but said it’s time he had a change.
“I think the takeover is a great thing for all the people working here and great for Mossman but even though I am finishing here today, the company has been really good to me.
“I’ll be having few beers with the guys this afternoon (Friday) and reliving the great times and the funny times we’ve all shared over the years.”
Mr Ziegler, who will be 60 on May 12, and married to his wife Jeanette for 39 years, said even though he becomes “unemployed today” he will be kept busy around the house.
And even though he is not entertaining the idea of retiring fully
It’s really good at this stage as long as it all lines up.
Mossman Mill chairman Bill Phillips-turner with Mackay Sugar chariman Andrew Cappello
Signing off: John Ziegler with his favourite loco the Daintree