Sugar cane farmers in the Mackay district have requested that the Canegrowers' board of directors rejects the A$150m (US$83.0m) assistance package the government has offered.

More than 300 farmers who met in Mackay last night [Tuesday] poured scorn on the negotiations held between their executive and the Federal and State governments, reported the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Some farmers urged others to start acting like unions. Frank Cowley of Seaforth is reported as saying: "Every time a farmer speaks out he's a rebel, we've got to reject this package as it is... it's up to the growers to have the guts to make a stand and refuse to send their cane to the mills to be crushed."