Time of the essence for Mossman Mill

MOSSMAN

Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu believes time is running out to save the Mossman Mill. IMAGE: Supplied.
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DOUGLAS Shire mayor Julia Leu says time is running out and Federal MP for Leichhardt, Warren Entsch, stressed he will do everything he can to ensure the future of the Mossman Mill.


But what Leu really wants is bi-partisan support, which she believes is vital, and a firm commitment.

It’s for these reasons she met with Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack in Canberra and then followed it up with a second meeting in Cairns on Monday along with Far Northern Milling Pty Ltd (Mossman and Tableland Canegrowers), senior Douglas Shire Council staff and Entsch. 

And on Tuesday in Cairns, she met with Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development, Anthony Albanese, to push the issue further onto the Federal Government’s radar.

Leu has also met with Mulgrave MP Curtis Pitt, and written to Premier Anastacia Palszcaczuk, Senator Bridget McKenzie and Assistant Minister for Regional Development Sussan Ley.

“I can say from the meetings, they appeared to understand the gravity of the situation and the very exciting economic opportunity around the Daintree Bio Precinct,” said Leu.

“This is a project that has the potential to lead the way for industry diversification of the Australian Sugar Industry and grow an environmentally sustainable manufacturing industry in Douglas Shire.”

And although Leu has remained optimistic about the future of the 121-year-old mill following the decision of local cane growers, Far Northern Milling Company, to buy it back from Mackay Sugar, she is acutely aware of the major hurdles: a $20m commitment from the Federal Government and $10m from the State Government to get the sale done by November. 

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Failing that, the current owners (Mackay Sugar) will be closing at the end of the year.

But the worrying signs are clear when Leu said time is running out and our resilient canegrowers need absolute certainty about the Mossman Mill. “Time is of the essence,” she said.

On Monday in Cairns, McCormack refused to commit to anything other than viewing all options and proposals.
And although Entsch has said he would present the strongest case possible, he tempered his comments by saying there are other parts of the country that have stronger cases (for financial assistance).

Leu has consistently said putting the mill back into the cane growers’ hands will give our young farmers certainty, restore investment confidence and push more dollars through the tills of small businesses in Mossman.

Council has already approved $250,000 to help Far Northern Milling Pty Ltd cover costs of acquiring the mill.

But what no one is hearing is a commitment to ensure the future of the Mossman Mill. And with time running out, the worrying signs are growing by the day.

 

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