UP IN THE AIR: Where to from here? - Douglas Shire based growers need clarity on mill future
Canegrowers acknowledges the latest announcement by Daintree Bio Precinct Ltd of the need to place the company and its subsidiaries, including Mossman Mill operator Far Northern Milling Pty Ltd into voluntary administration.
While disappointing for Mossman growers, the appointment of an administrator is a necessary step given the company’s ongoing financial struggles Canegrowers CEO Dan Galligan said.
“Mossman growers, together with the staff and executive of Far Northern Milling, have worked tirelessly to make a success of the mill and bio-precinct initiative over the past few years,” Mr Galligan said.
“Unfortunately, circumstances have conspired against them, with Covid, workforce shortages, flooding, and reducing through-put, just a few of the challenges the local industry has had to contend with.”
Mr Galligan said growers the local industry, and the wider community must be front-and-centre of any decisions made on the future of the mill.
“Growers have already invested over $10M in the upcoming 2024 season and they haven’t been fully paid for the 2023 season yet, either. The closure of the mill would be devasting for sugarcane families in the region.
“And it’s not just growers and mill staff who would suffer. As one of the region’s largest employers, Mossman Mill injects a lot of cash into the local economy, both directly and indirectly. Its loss would impact the whole community.
“It’s vital that administrators remain in constant communication with the industry so that local growers can have clarity on any decisions that could seriously impact their livelihoods.”
Despite the challenges of recent years Mr Galligan said there remains an opportunity for the local sugarcane industry to evolve into a sustainable bio-production hub.
“Our industry is on the cusp of an evolution into the production of sustainable bioproducts, such as bioplastics and sustainable aviation fuel," he said.
“Mossman was already well advanced along this road and the region still has a wealth of opportunities ahead if this current situation can be managed positively to deliver the right investment and provide the mill and the industry a new lease on life.”
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