Herbert River district powers through cane season despite challenges

Aug 20, 2021

Herbert River district powers through cane season despite challenges

Aug 20, 2021

MEMBER for Hinchinbrook Nick Dametto MP has praised the Herbert farming community on their efforts as harvesting crews’ power through the 2021 season. 

The sugarcane industry remains the number one industry in Hinchinbrook.  

For every $1 of economic activity in sugarcane growing, an additional $6.40 in economic activity is generated elsewhere in the economy.1  

Since the start of the 2021 crush to the week ending August 14, some 1,246,924 tonnes of sugar cane have been crushed between Ingham’s Victoria and Macknade Mills. The Herbert Mills have processed just under a third of the estimated 2021 crop.2 

Mr Dametto said while recent wet weather across the district had resulted in reduced ability to harvest in some areas resulting in lower milling output, the conditions allowed both mills to conduct routine maintenance. 

“Most farmers are pretty happy with the current sugar price cracking $600 per metric tonne and we have been fortunate that the recent cold snap has resulted in the Commercial Cane Sugar (CCS) rising slightly to 12.46 units,” he said. 

“It’s also great to hear that Victoria Mill’s new $10.6 million evaporator vessel that was installed during the “slack” season has made a significant improvement to efficiency. 

“I’d like to personally thank our farmers, harvesting crews, loco crews, miller workers and their supportive families for their efforts so far this season and well done to those working tirelessly to plant next year’s crop. Also, congratulations to Wilmar’s Jack Pelleri, who has been named Apprentice of the Year at the recent Hinchinbrook Business Awards.” 

Mr Dametto said although this are going well at present within the sugar industry, international economic conditions could change. Keeping an eye on the Indian Government’s potential sugar market manipulation via subsidies could erode the world sugar price was a high priority.  

This would heavily effect Queensland’s sugar export opportunities which would have a negative effect on sugar cane growing community across the state.  

According to a new report by Green Pool Commodity Specialists, the subsidies – which are currently under investigation by the World Trade Organisation – have contributed to substantially lower global sugar prices.3 

“The impact of these external influences has been felt by everyone in the sugar cane industry supply chain – we now know that there has been a calculated $1 billion cost to the Queensland sugar industry due to the decisions made by the Indian Government,” Mr Dametto said. 

“The dumping of subsidized sugar on the market has really hurt growers, millers and their families and furthermore our communities suffer. Katter’s Australian Party will continue to keep the pressure on Federal Coalition to act immediately if India get out of line, this is to ensure there is a level playing field,” he said.