Offer on table for growers
SUGAR cane growers on the Gold Coast have rejected an offer from their southern counterparts to crush their cane at a northern NSW mill.
Sunshine Sugar, which operates three mills, at Condong, Broadwater and Harwood, have offered to move northern Gold Coast cane across the border following ongoing problems with the Rocky Point Sugar Mill.
But Rocky Point Canegrowers Association boss Richard Skopp says it was unlikely that they would need to send cane down to the Condong mill in the Tweed Shire.
“At this stage we expect that our mill will be able to crush the crop,” he said.
“The problem piece of machinery ... is receiving upgrades at the moment. (The machinery) was our problem last year.”
Mr Skopp said they would always keep their options open if they needed extra crushing or had a major failure.
“But at the current price of sugar it wouldn't be viable,” he said of the offer.
Sunshine Sugar CEO Chris Connors said the company was in “negotiations with a number of growers” to “get their cane on our mills” in order to keep the industry viable.
“Over the last three years the Rocky Point Mill hasn’t been able to crush all the cane up there and we’re looking at how to sustain that industry,” he said. “We’re working with them and looking at the best options. We think for their sustainability it’s an arrangement that will see them in Condong for the long term.”
The move comes as a blow for the Gold Coast sugar industry, which has struggled since a fire in 2016 damaged the Rocky Point Sugar Mill.