12 February, 2024
Growers: ‘Don’t give up on shire town’
CANEGROWERS and the Australian Cane Farmers Association are calling on the state government to support Mossman’s recovery as the town continues to struggle in the aftermath of ex-Tropical Cyclone Jasper.
Canegrowers Mossman chairman Matt Watson said tourism revenue had plummeted since Jasper struck on December 13, and now the region’s only other major employer was in jeopardy.
“People are still doing it really tough in Mossman. The town was basically isolated for weeks after Jasper. Homes, businesses, and farms were all inundated by flooding and the water has taken so long to subside due to continuing rainfall that the community is still counting the cost,” he said.
“One thing we do know is that tourism, which is one of the region’s biggest industries, has fallen off significantly. That’s had a huge impact on the community.
“To make matters worse, Mossman’s single biggest employer, the Daintree Bio Precinct, is now in real jeopardy if the government doesn’t step in and help secure its future.”
The bio-precinct and its subsidiaries, including Far Northern Milling (FNM), contribute about $190 million to the local economy annually and employ 570 people, almost a third of the town’s population.
The mill is in administration after it could not fund the 2024 harvesting season and entered voluntary administration on November 20 last year.
A consortium has come forward with a plan to turn the precinct into a green energy hub, but only if the state government supports the initiative through guaranteeing the 2024 and 2025 seasons.
Australian Cane Farmers Association representative Jack Murday urged the Queensland Government to help save the Mossman community by throwing its full support behind the mill’s biofuel transition process.
“It’s at times like these, when we have suffered a huge blow, that we need our elected representatives to step up,” he said.