Cane communities put on the line with unfair Reef laws

Queensland coastal regional communities and their reliant sugar milling jobs are facing increased uncertainty with Labor’s proposed unfair and unbalanced Reef Laws.

LNP Shadow Minster for Agriculture Tony Perrett said alarm bells have been raised by industry on the new laws, especially the impact on the state’s all-important sugar and cane industry.

“Queensland’s $4 billion cane industry employs more than 22,600 direct and indirect jobs throughout the state and the majority of them are in regional towns,” said Mr Perrett.

“We know that the grower representative group CANEGROWERS has had enough and has taken the extraordinary step of running TV ads throughout Queensland just to get Labor to listen. 

“The sugar industry is already doing it tough with low international prices for sugar, that’s putting pressure on the viability of existing cane farms and mills”.

The Australian Sugar Millers Council in their submission to the Reef Bill* highlighted specifically that: ‘the Queensland economy would be quite negatively impacted if the focus on improvement of reef water quality led to a significant reduction in the productivity and size of the State’s sugar industry, and agriculture more broadly’**.

It goes on to add, that Labor’s laws and regulatory approach could have “…far reaching and disastrous impact from an economic, social and environmental perspective.”

Mr Perrett pointed directly to the loss of production, leading to a loss of jobs.

“This is economics 101, if there is less cane harvested there is less to crush and this flows through the entire community.

“This means jobs losses in towns all the way along the coast from Cairns to Mackay to Bundaberg.

“I would expect Labor member like Julieanne Gilbert (Mackay), Bruce Saunders (Maryborough) and Cynthia Lui (Cook) to vote against these laws if they are serious about protecting and supporting hundreds of local jobs.

“Annastacia Palaszczuk is out of touch and regional Queensland has been snubbed.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government continues to treat regional Queenslanders like second class citizens.

“Only the LNP will ensure farmers always get a fair reef regulations deal, with a proper consultation process that actually listens and considers the impact on farmers and their communities.”

*Environmental Protection (Great Barrier Reef Protection Measures) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019

** Australian Sugar Millers Council submission to Environmental Protection (Great Barrier Reef Protection Measures) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019:

***Australian Sugar Millers Council economic modelling:

Electorate Economic value Jobs
Bundaberg $141 million 657 jobs
Burdekin $496 million 2648 jobs
Burdekin $127 million 985 jobs
Cairns $72 million 384 jobs
Cook $106 million 572 jobs
Hill $256 million 1859 jobs
Hinchinbrook $338 million 1751 jobs
Mackay $298 million 1783 jobs
Maryborough $92 million 441 jobs
McConnel (Brisbane CBD) $282 million 1243 jobs
Mirani $534 million 2978 jobs
Mulgrave $82 million 864 jobs
Mundingburra $47 million 270 jobs
Townsville $80 million 427 jobs
Whitsunday $598 million 3218 jobs
QUEENSLAND WIDE TOTAL $4050 million 22657 jobs
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