Time flies when you’re hav­ing fun

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

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.

Hand­ing over:

Moss­man Mill chair­man Bill Phillips-turner with Mackay Sugar cha­ri­man An­drew Cap­pello

Sign­ing off: John Ziegler with his favourite loco the Dain­tree

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