3 April, 2024

Devastating mill closure

THE Queensland Government is being called upon to fund the 2024 Mossman mill harvest after the winding up of the beleaguered sugar milling company on Friday last week.

Devastating mill closure - feature photo

Worrells put the mill’s parent company – the Daintree Bio Precinct Group – into liquidation after going into voluntary administration last November.

The company received a lifeline on February 29, when creditors supported a proposal put forward by mystery investor who stepped in at the last minute with plans to save the mill.

But the plans have fallen through, with the investor backing out of the deal just before the end of a 15-business day statutory deadline.

“It’s heartbreaking, not just for growers and the local sugar industry, but for the whole Mossman community,” Canegrowers Mossman chairman Matt Watson (above right) said.

“Local growers have been backing this business for years through investment in our crops and in the mill itself, and we had high hopes when this investor approached the company administrator with a plan to save the mill,” he said. 

“They laid out their plans for bringing the mill back to profitability over the next four years, before transitioning into a green energy hub.

“To have those hopes crushed at the last minute and for the investor to simply walk away from the community is just devastating.” 

Canegrowers chief executive Dan Galligan called on Premier Steven Miles and Agriculture Minister Mark Furner to back up their words with actions and provide the funding necessary to help get the 2024 crop harvested.

The Miles government has announced a $12.1 million Mossman region transition program to support local mill workers.

The program follows the Mossman mill being placed into liquidation. Immediate actions under the program included an information session assisting workers on Wednesday, formation of the Mossman region stakeholder advisory committee and commencement of a regional transition opportunities study.

Committee members will include representatives from Douglas Shire Council, Douglas Chamber of Commerce and Mossman Canegrowers as well as Queensland and Australian Government agencies.

State Development and Infrastructure Minister Grace Grace said the Miles government had taken swift action to secure the future for the Mossman workers to provide certainty for workers, farmers, businesses and other community members.

“Our Mossman region transition program has now been activated and our people are on the ground ready to help,” she said.

“We will bring together all the service providers who can help mill workers transition into new jobs, access training and upskilling and gain counselling support.

“We will also be forming a Mossman region stakeholder advisory committee so we work directly with locals on what they need to ensure Mossman has a bright future”. 


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