25 June, 2024

Lifeline for growers

MOSSMAN Mill canegrowers have been thrown a $6 million lifeline to have their crop crushed at Gordonvale.

By Nick Dalton

Lifeline for growers - feature photo

The Miles government has announced up to $6m from the $12.1m support package for Mossman will be used to assist growers to transport their current crop and address standover cane at the Mulgrave Mill.

Douglas Shire Council will receive a $5.9m grant to develop and implement the Mossman Region Transition Program, building on the work of the Mossman Region Stakeholder Advisory Committee established by the government.

The Mossman Mill was placed into voluntary administration in November, despite the Queensland and Australian governments providing nearly $48m in support to Far Northern Milling since 2019.


Canegrowers Mossman chairman Matt Watson said the government’s commitment was a huge relief for growers.

“Finding a funding arrangement to cover the cost of transport has been the stumbling block to making this venture a reality. It’s been an anxious time for growers, but we can all take a deep breath now and start preparing for the crush,” he said.

 Douglas Shire Mayor Lisa Scomazzon said “sugar is a lifeblood industry for Mossman”.

“The closure of the mill has left locals devastated and is already impacting businesses,” she said.

“We will be working with growers and community members to identify new opportunities for the region, building on the excellent work of the Mossman Region Stakeholder Advisory Committee.

“We’re grateful to the Queensland Government for ensuring this year’s crop is not lost and supporting locally led solutions as we look to Mossman’s future.”

Premier Steven Miles said he knew the uncertainty around the Mossman Mill had been distressing for growers and the community.

“When I met with concerned locals at Cairns Community Cabinet earlier this year, they told me that funding to help with the next steps was what they needed, so we have delivered that,” he said. 

“$6m will go toward transport costs to get this year’s harvest to crush, which is critical for growers to be able to make money off this crop.”

State Development and Infrastructure Minister Grace Grace said the mill’s closure  had created a lot of uncertainty for the community and Far Northern sugar industry.

“We have listened to local concerns, and we are responding by unlocking $6m in funding from the $12.1m  package announced earlier this year to support growers to crush this year’s crop,” she said.

“We’re also looking to Mossman’s future – my department will invest $5.9m to support Douglas Shire Council to take over Mossman Region Transition Program, which will look at alternative opportunities the region may wish to tap into, whether that’s tourism, diversifying into different crops, or small business opportunities.

Agricultural Minister Mark Furner said there was about 300,000 tonnes of cane standing in fields and with the Queensland Government’s support, growers would be able to get a revenue from the 2024 crop.

Cook MP Cynthia Lui said she knew how important the sugar industry was for the Mossman area and the closure of the mill had been difficult for the local community and businesses.

“This support package will go a long way to help our growers process this year’s crop and look to the future with funding for the development and implementation of the Mossman Region Transition Program,” she said.


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