Cane still trucking
MOSSMAN Mill can still expect the arrival of 700,000 tonnes of Tableland sugarcane despite owners of the mill near Mareeba promising to meet growers’ demands.
Last month Mackay Sugar and Tableland Canegrowers Ltd signed a cane supply agreement to supply their entire crop to the Mossman Mill from 2014 for five years.
About 80 Tableland Canegrowers made the decision to change mills after the Arriga Mill owners Maryborough Sugar Factory refused to meet negotiations on marketing and pricing conditions.
The growers wanted MSF to continue exporting their product through Queensland Sugar Limited, but MSF, owned by the Thai company Mitr Phol, wanted to continue selling the sugar itself.
MSF has since come out and said they would consider signing an agreement with Queensland Sugar Limited, but Tableland Canegrowers Ltd Manager Bronwyn Dwyer said ‘‘too little, too late’’.
‘‘They are prepared to re-sign with QSL as long as they get what they want, taking the economic interest out, but the documentation has not been finalised,’’ she said.
‘‘Our growers know that but we have a legally binding contract from 2014 season and we cannot break that contract and have no intention of going back to MSF.
‘‘Even if they do re-sign, there is no guarantee, being a multinational company with interests not aligned with the growers, that they won’t give notice and back out in the next three years, like they have been trying to do with us for the last three years.’’
Mackay Sugar CEO Quinton Hildebrand said they are still in negotiations with MSF about crushing some of the Tableland Cane in the Arriga Mill, but there has been no progress.
‘‘Mackay Sugar continue to make arrangements to crush the entire 700,000 tonnes from the Tablelands at the Mossman mill in 2014 and have a team of engineers working on the necessary upgrade for the mill,’’ he said.
‘‘We have not ruled out entering into an arrangement with the Tablelands mill but no progress has been made in this regard.’’
Meanwhile concerned citizens of Mt Molloy and Julatten are demonstrating today at 4pm on the Rifle Creek bridge in Mt Molloy, protesting over the plans to truck the Tableland sugarcane through their communities and down the Rex Range.