Cane­grow­ers win back­ing

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - FRONT PAGE -

FOUR out of five lead­ing po­lit­i­cal par­ties have re­sponded to lobby group Cane­grow­ers ac­tion plan to strengthen the Aus­tralian sug­ar­cane in­dus­try.

The Aus­tralian La­bor Party, Lib­eral National Party, Greens and Kat­ter’s Aus­tralian Party all re­sponded to five main ar­eas: Re­duce cost of pro­duc­tion, in­vest in world lead­ing ef­fi­ciency, im­prove trade ac­cess to ex­port mar­kets, in­crease re­search and de­vel­op­ment and fi­nally, in­tro­duce an im­proved reg­u­la­tory process for chem­i­cals.

Cane­grow­ers chair­man Paul Schem­bri said th­ese ar­eas are piv­otal in grow­ing the sug­ar­cane in­dus­try.

‘‘It’s im­per­vi­ous the govern­ment winds back the cost of elec­tric­ity oth­er­wise it’s go­ing to be eco­nom­i­cally cat­a­strophic for agri­cul­ture in this na­tion,’’ he said.

‘‘Axe the car­bon tax - it adds an ex­tra layer of cost for farm­ers who have to com­pete against other coun­tries with­out any car­bon tax or emis­sion trad­ing scheme.

‘‘We want ac­cess to a range of im­por­tant free trade agree­ments that are be­ing ne­go­ti­ated, 80 per cent of what we pro­duce is ex­ported.

‘‘ Fi­nally we want greater in­vest­ment in re­search and de­vel­op­ment and more sup­port for the Reef Res­cue pro­gram, which is our best pro­gram man­age­ment prac­tice for en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity.

Mr Schem­bri said the re­sponses in­di­cate a grow­ing recog­ni­tion of agri­cul­ture and sug­ar­cane to the Aus­tralian econ­omy.

‘‘We have got ma­jor con­cerns about our in­dus­try and is­sues that af­fect our vi­a­bil­ity, so we as­sem­bled those is­sues, wrote to all the par­ties and were please four of the five ma­jor par­ties re­sponded,’’ he said.

‘‘The LNP, ALP and KAP had the strong­est re­sponses but the point of dif­fer­ent was with the ALP in re­la­tion to the car­bon tax and emis­sion trad­ing scheme and so KA and par­tic­u­larly the LNP ap­peared to more closely aligned to our con­cerns.

‘‘We’re not telling the grow­ers or com­mu­nity to vote one way or the other, that’s their de­ci­sion but there is an enor­mous level of in­ter­est in the well­be­ing of our in­dus­try, so we put this out sim­ply as a guide.’’

For de­tailed re­sponses from the ma­jor par­ties visit www.cane­grow­­tion

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