War of words as Mossman Mill funding still in limbo

INFRASTRUCTURE

Victoria Stone-Meadows

Journalist

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CRUSHING: The future of the Mossman Mill is unclear until the business case study is revealed. Image: Supplied.
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Federal MP for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch, has blasted the state government for failing to commit funding to the Mossman Mill transition project.

In a speech to Parliament earlier this week, Mr Entsch said the state government is failing the people of Mossman by holding back $16 million in funding.

“They’ve been completely silent on the issue and they’ve left the project in a state of flux,” he said.

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“In spite of the fact that it was Queensland’s department of state development that actually encouraged the growers to go down this track.

“In fact, the state bureaucrats are doing their utmost to ensure the project will not meet its deadline.”

Earlier this year, the current mill owner, Mackay Sugar, announced the mill would be closing, leaving 560 people without work.

The Mossman Canegrowers, the Australian Cane Farmers Association, and Tableland Canegrowers came together with plans to buy the bill themselves and transform it into a bio refinery.

The federal government has committed $20 million to the project with funding contingent on the state and local government also providing funding.

The Douglas Shire Council has committed $250,000 to the project.

Mr Entsch took aim at the state MP for Cook, Cynthia Lui, saying she has turned her back on the people of Mossman.

“She was more than happy some time ago to smile for the cameras, beat her chest and say the Australian government should offer financial assistance to the mill, but, when push came to shove, she didn’t deliver her end of the bargain,” Mr Etsch said.

“She should hang her head in shame for her utter silence on the issue.

“If this project falls over because of the Queensland Labor government, mark my words, I will personally ensure every resident in Mossman and the Douglas Shire region knows who’s to blame.

“It’s time for the Queensland government to back our farmers and primary producers.”

Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick has since hit back at Mr Entsch.

Mr Dick pointed out all the funding is conditional on a business case study providing financial sense and stability for the growers.

“Mossman Mill haven’t and won’t see a single dollar from Warren Entsch yet, as much as he’d like the community to believe otherwise,” he said.

“The fact is he won’t hand over any money until he sees a sound business case.”

Mr Dick said the Queensland Government want to ensure the growers have the best possible support for a thriving future at the Mossman Mill.

“Our government is committed to consulting with the growers because we believe in working with them and helping them to pull together a solid business case,” he said.

“Mossman Mill have a local champion in Member for Cook Cynthia Lui who is fighting hard to support them, but just like the Federal Government, we need to see that business case and it needs to stack up.” 

 

 

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