Canegrowers win backing
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.canegrowers.com.au/page/election