Council and Federal Government put the grind on for mill funding
Douglas Shire Council and Federal MP for Leichhardt Warren Entsch have called on the Queensland Government to front up with funding for the Mossman Mill.
At the beginning of the month, Entsch announced $20 million in federal funding for the Mossman Mill.
The funding is to assist in transforming it into a bio refinery and transferring ownership of the site from Mackay Sugar into the hands of the growers.
Douglas Shire Council has also ensured $250,000 in funding to assist in the transfer process.
However, the federal funding will only be released on the condition the Queensland State Government also come to the table.
“It’s important we accelerate the process in relation to the state government and put it to bed so that the community can get on with the transition which is going to take two to three years to do; we don’t want to have another delay,” Entsch said.
“We are still waiting on a positive business case to be released on this, but it is my understanding that the business case is due to be released in the next few days.
“The feds are on board, council is on board, and the community and growers are on board so what we need to do is make sure the state government comes on as well.”
Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu is hopeful the funding from all levels of government can be secured to ensure future jobs in the Douglas Shire.
“It’s a fantastic outcome because we were really concerned that if we did not have the funding to ensure the mill did not close and didn’t have this wonderful opportunity to transition in the future to bio refinery, it would have a very severe impact on the community of Mossman,” Cr Leu said.
“We are thrilled with the announcement of the $20 million in funding and we are very confident that our request to the state government will be met.”
Without the business case study, it is still unclear if the funding and transition will go ahead but Entsch is sure of a positive outcome.
“The growers have said if the business case doesn’t stack up, it won’t go ahead,” he said.
“But, I am confident it will and then the money will be released, of course subject to state’s participation.
“Let’s not delay the process and make sure it happens as soon as possible.”
Newsport contacted Mark Furner, state minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, for comment but is yet to receive a response.
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