The State Member’s for Bundaberg and Burnett are standing up for Queensland’s Sugar Industry after it copped disparaging comments from Minister Cameron Dick during Parliament’s Committee Estimates.
During the State Development, Natural Resources and Agricultural Industry Development Committee Estimates Hearing, Minister Dick said the Government “is trying to transition mills away from crushing and producing sugar to higher value products.”
As a member of the committee, Member for Bundaberg David Batt said he couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“Earlier this year we had Queensland’s Deputy Leader Jackie Trad telling our coal miners to re-skill, and now we’ve got Minister Dick telling our sugar industry to stop crushing sugar, it’s unbelievable,” he said.
Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett said the suggestion to transition our mills away from crushing and producing sugar is extremely insulting.
“Our region was built on the sugar industry,” he said.
“It is important that we continue to diversify and welcome innovation, but the Minister’s comments are a slap in the face to generations of growers.
“Local cane farmers are being hit from all sides; by the state Government and their electricity rort, their rash reef regulations and vegetation management, by low sugar prices and the never ending drought.
“There is only so much our growers can take and to suggest that that the Government supports a complete transition away from crushing sugar, is cruel and negligent.
“I will not support this and will continue to fight for our farming families here in the Burnett.”
Bundaberg MP David Batt said it is clear Labor has limited interest in the sugar industry.
“Whether it be unfair vegetation or the incoming reef laws, the LNP won’t stand idly while the anti-farmer and anti-regions Palaszczuk Labor Government talks down and attacks our farmers,” he said.
Shadow Minister for Agriculture Tony Perrett said while it’s important to be finding new uses for all important sugar mills, Minister Dick’s suggestion that the Government supports a complete transition away from crushing sugar is fanciful.
“Labor just doesn’t get it and they don’t understand what actually happens in our mills and the towns like Bundaberg that support them,” he said.
“Sugar crushing has a strong future in Queensland and it’s about time Labor woke up to this reality.”
Wednesday, 31 July 2019