Australian sugar industry body Canegrowers has warned that the sector has been severely impacted by the floods in Queensland, with some 20% of crops left unharvested. 

The negative impact from the heavy rainfall, which has left 5.7m tonnes of sugarcane unharvested, will continue into the year and the body is urging growers to seek whatever financial assistance is available.

“While it will still be weeks before we are able to get a better handle on the full extent of the impact on the sugar industry, we are encouraging growers to find out now what assistance and grants are available to help them with the massive recovery work ahead of them,” said acting Canegrowers CEO Ron Mullins yesterday (5 January).

“While the grants do not yet cover every affected area, this is a proactive start from the federal and state governments to get the recovery on track, and we will continue to work with government and community players to get the best possible result from the difficult situation.”

Canegrowers said it has been actively lobbying for assistance to help kick-start the recovery of the industry. Mullins commended the federal and state governments for their action in providing assistance to businesses and primary producers in flood-affected areas and other local government areas heavily impacted by excessive rainfall, which has caused localised to severe flooding in cane-growing districts spanning from Mossman to Grafton.

“We are urging growers to contact their local Canegrowers’ offices or QRAA [the Queensland government] to check their eligibility for financial assistance and counselling support,” said Mullins.

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