Government follows through on promise to canegrowers

PREMIER Campbell Newman and Agriculture Minister John McVeigh joined sugar industry leaders at Mackay recently to honour a commitment made by the LNP in the lead-up to the State Election.

The Queensland Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding to increase the level of government funding to our research and development sector by an additional $4.6 million over the next four years. This will take the State Government's commitment to R&D to more than $16 million over the next four years.

The presence of the Premier at the signing is a strong sign of the government's commitment to the sugar industry and to agriculture, being part of the government's four major economic pillars.

From our perspective the new government has shown a demonstrable willingness to engage with the sugar industry.

Importantly, the extra government commitment will complement the industry move to research, development and extension reform.

In other news, Canegrowers has welcomed changes to Queensland's Vegetation Management laws. Vegetation laws in Queensland had become so restrictive that clearing drains and maintaining headlands had been caught up in excessive red tape and bureaucracy.

The changes announced by Minister for Natural Resources Andrew Cripps will allow farmers now to engage in sensible and appropriate land management practices to ensure they remain productive and profitable.

Farmers will now be able to manage weeds and pest species in vegetated areas that were previously designated as "no go" areas.

The sugar industry is expanding and hopefully further changes to the vegetation management laws will allow the industry to expand in an orderly and environmentally sustainable way.

And finally, Canegrowers Mackay would like to remind everyone that the cane harvest in the Mackay and Plane Creek regions is in full swing.

At around the halfway mark it is timely to remind parents to ensure they are regularly warning their school-age children about the extreme dangers of playing on or near tramlines, locomotives and cane bins - full or empty.

During the crushing, movements along tramlines increase significantly, and the chances of an accident between members of the public and this heavy equipment and machinery is significantly increased.

It also is timely to remind all road users to drive with caution and common sense around heavy haul-out vehicles, and pay particular attention when these vehicles are indicating. Often this indication is misconstrued as a signal that it is safe to pass when in fact, the vehicle is indicating to turn. This misconception is dangerous and could potentially lead to a fatality.

Tramlines crisscross most sectors of the region and drivers are cautioned to take care when approaching crossings - not all of tramline crossings have flashing lights.

Topics:  cane canegrowers mackay comment paul schembri sugar

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