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Help at hand - but it's a mutual obligation.



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SENATOR THE HON. IAN MACDONALD Minister for Forestry and Conservation

Home Back to Media Releases AFFA02/176M 10 September 2002

 

Help at hand — but it’s a mutual obligation

North Queensland-based Minister Ian Macdonald has urged northern growers and millers to play their part in rescuing the long term future of the sugar industry by working with the Federal Government on the full implementation of the assistance package announced tonight (Monday).

Senator Macdonald said the $150 million package would give immediate help to those most in need and would provide funds for restructuring at a regional level. It would also help with exit from the industry for those whose future is difficult to assure with a one-off tax-free payment of $45,000.

“The regional focus of the package will allow decisions to be made at local level under an overarching Industry Guidance Group,” Senator Macdonald said.

“While a large part of the package will be funded by a levy on domestic sugar sales, the Federal Government will require contributions from the Queensland Government and, in some cases, from the industry.

“I am confident that the broad elements of the package provide for a sound future for the industry provided the necessary restructuring is wholeheartedly embraced by the industry.

“The Australian public, through levy payments or general government assistance, will be making a significant investment in the industry, and it will expect a matching effort by those involved in the industry.

“The package will be important to the business communities and workers in north Queensland who rely on the cane industry for their livelihoods.

“The industry is at the mercy of world prices and the elements, and it is only by bringing costs down through greater efficiencies and the latest technology, that we can continue to thrive in a global market.

“The Federal Government’s package will give initiatives for these necessary reforms and I am certain canefarmers and millers in the north will embrace those initiatives and undertake the necessary adjustment; although, I understand at times this

will mean difficult individual and local industry decisions.”

Further inquiries:

Senator Macdonald's office: Kelly Stevens 0405 191 732

   

  Last updated 12 September 2002

URL: http://www.affa.gov.au/ministers/macdonald/releases/2002/02176m.html Commonwealth of Australia 2002