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Sugar milling council playing a lead role in building industry self-reliance.

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DAFF06/010SL- 24 March 2006

Sugar milling council playing a lead role in building industry self-reliance

The Australian Sugar Milling Council (ASMC) has a vital role to play in building industry competitiveness and self-reliance, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Sussan Ley announced today.

Speaking at its Annual General Meeting in Brisbane, Ms Ley thanked the Council for its significant contribution to the reform process underway in the Australian sugar industry.

“The ASMC has been closely involved in the Australian Sugar Industry Reform Programme 2004, participating in the Industry Oversight Group and the Regional Advisory Groups,” she said.

“And I’m looking forward to continuing working with the Council to achieve our shared goal of a prosperous and sustainable Australian sugar industry.”

Ms Ley also joined with the Prime Minister in expressing her deep concern for the people of far north Queensland affected by Cyclone Larry.

“The pictures of widespread property damage, and flattened banana plantations and sugar cane are a tangible reminder for all Australians of the magnitude of the recovery effort needed,” she said.

“It was therefore pleasing to see that the package of support measures announced on Wednesday included help for sugar cane farmers in the affected region.”

Ms Ley told the ASMC AGM that one of the keys to the Australian Government’s reform programme was the $75 million Regional and Community Projects component.

“Regional and Community Projects are aimed at advancing the reform process by helping the sugar industry adjust to its medium to longer-term restructuring needs,” she said.

“Nearly $4.7 million has already been made available under the component’s first funding round, backing projects that will improve structural efficiency and transport infrastructure for growers and millers.

“AustraIian Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Minister Peter McGauran is

expected to announce the outcome of the second round of funding applications shortly.”

Further media inquiries:

Ms Ley's office: Verity Williams 02 6277 4503 or 0428 213 264 TOP

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