Thinking the unthinkable
THE recent story of the Mossman Central Mill is really two stories.
The first is that upgrades in recent years means it’s in pretty good nick and did a good job of the harvest and crush last year.
But the second story is the really big one -- the fact that Mackay Sugar is struggling and needs to retire debt and raise cash. Recently, at the advice of its business consultant Kidder Williams, it approached local growers to buy half the mill.
It went off like a bombshell around here, along with the idea of hitting growers with a $2 a tonne levy (wiping out half their profits!).
it was an outlandish and unheralded proposition. Now, it seems, Mackay wants growers to buy ALL the mill. But then . . .
Given a few weeks and a chance to talk to Mackay Sugar, local growers are contemplating the unthinkable.True, the farmers had been here at this very spot before, and it didn’t turn out well.
Despite the negative experience of owning the mill once before, now they need to take it on and make it work, because the alternatives are dire. Better probably to take on the vital asset, an integral part of the supply chain, in its entirety than be half-hitched to the struggling fortunes of Mackay Sugar.
And who would agree to the $2 levy when it’s only going to be spent on Mackay’s southern mills?
No, it’s better just to be shot of the whole thing.
And obviously what’s happened, with some growers at least, is a realisation that the 128-year-old mill is actually at a historic crossroads.
Why not be more forward looking? Embrace new ideas and new technology and write a new future for the mill and indeed the whole community.
It’s a modern way to go. The district is an energy sink. Kilojoules are piled high over our heads in fields of green.