Sup­port for mill bio plan

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - TOURISM TALK -

A JOINT push to save the Moss­man Mill and trans­form it into a state-of-the-art bio pro­cess­ing plant has re­ceived firm sup­port.

Dou­glas Shire Mayor Ju­lia Leu joined Moss­man and Table­lands Cane­grow­ers at a meet­ing with Sen­a­tor Kim Carr and Can­di­date for Le­ich­hardt El­ida Faith in Moss­man yes­ter­day.

Mayor Leu said it was fan­tas­tic to have Fed­eral politi­cians vis­it­ing the re­gion and tak­ing the mill is­sue se­ri­ously.

“It is great to have Labor’s back­ing, but bi­par­ti­san sup­port is vi­tal to the mill’s fu­ture and Moss­man’s econ­omy,” she said.

“The Dain­tree Bio Precinct is a fis­cally sound project that will lead the way for in­dus­try di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion of the Aus­tralian sugar in­dus­try.

“This clean and green vi­sion will cre­ate a vi­brant bio re­fin­ery to grow an en­vi­ron­men­tally man­u­fac­tur­ing Dou­glas shire.”

Cane­grow­ers es­ti­mates the project could cre­ate 86 new long term jobs and in­ject $150 mil­lion into the econ­omy an­nu­ally.

Coun­cil and Cane­grow­ers will hold an­other meet­ing with Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Michael McCormack and Le­ich­hardt MP War­ren Entsch in Cairns on Mon­day.

Sen­a­tor Carr called on Mr McCormack to back the pro­posal.

“There are 100 jobs at the mill in­volved, there are many grow­ers who de­pend on this fa­cil­ity,” he said.

“The cur­rent com­pany that runs it has run into con­sid­er­able dif­fi­cul­ties, and I want to make sure they are not re­peated.

“I want to make sure that we can se­cure the fu­ture so I’m pre­pared to back it if the fea­si­bil­ity sus­tain­able in­dus­try in study comes in.

“I will put the ar­gu­ment to the col­leagues in Can­berra.

“We can’t af­ford to lose man­u­fac­tur­ing in the re­gion.

“We’ve got to make sure the econ­omy here is di­ver­si­fied.

“Blue-col­lar jobs are re­ally im­por­tant to Labor, they’re re­ally im­por­tant to the econ­omy of Far North Queens­land and they’re re­ally im­por­tant to Aus­tralia.”

Coun­cil made an ap­pli­ca­tion un­der the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment’s Re­gional Growth Fund for $20m on the ba­sis it would be matched by con­tri­bu­tions from the grow­ers over time.

The fund­ing would be used to up­grade the nec­es­sary in­fra­struc­ture and lock in sug­ar­cane feed­stock for the Dain­tree Bio Precinct.

Coun­cil has al­ready com­mit­ted up to $250,000 to as­sist with costs in­curred through the mill ac­qui­si­tion.

Pic­ture: SUP­PLIED

Dou­glas Shire Mayor Ju­lia Leu and Labor Sen­a­tor Kim Carr.

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