Cane communities put on the line with unfair Reef laws


Queensland coastal regional communities and their reliant sugar milling jobs are facing increased uncertainty with Labor's proposed unfair and unbalanced Reef Laws.

LNP Shadow Minster for Agriculture Tony Perrett said alarm bells have been raised by industry on the new laws, especially the impact on the state's all-important sugar and cane industry.

"Queensland's $4 billion cane industry employs more than 22,600 direct and indirect jobs throughout the state and the majority of them are in regional towns," said Mr Perrett.

"We know that the grower representative group CANEGROWERS has had enough and has taken the extraordinary step of running TV ads throughout Queensland just to get Labor to listen. 

"The sugar industry is already doing it tough with low international prices for sugar, that's putting pressure on the viability of existing cane farms and mills".

The Australian Sugar Millers Council in their submission to the Reef Bill* highlighted specifically that: 'the Queensland economy would be quite negatively impacted if the focus on improvement of reef water quality led to a significant reduction in the productivity and size of the State's sugar industry, and agriculture more broadly'**.

It goes on to add, that Labor's laws and regulatory approach could have "...far reaching and disastrous impact from an economic, social and environmental perspective."

Mr Perrett pointed directly to the loss of production, leading to a loss of jobs.

"This is economics 101, if there is less cane harvested there is less to crush and this flows through the entire community. 

"This means jobs losses in towns all the way along the coast from Cairns to Mackay to Bundaberg.

"I would expect Labor member like Julieanne Gilbert (Mackay), Bruce Saunders (Maryborough) and Cynthia Lui (Cook) to vote against these laws if they are serious about protecting and supporting hundreds of local jobs.

"Annastacia Palaszczuk is out of touch and regional Queensland has been snubbed.

"The Palaszczuk Labor Government continues to treat regional Queenslanders like second class citizens.

"Only the LNP will ensure farmers always get a fair reef regulations deal, with a proper consultation process that actually listens and considers the impact on farmers and their communities."

*Environmental Protection (Great Barrier Reef Protection Measures) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2019

** Australian Sugar Millers Council submission to Environmental Protection (Great Barrier Reef Protection Measures) and Other Legislation Amendment Bill


***Australian Sugar Millers Council economic modelling: 


Economic value



$141 million

657 jobs


$496 million

2648 jobs


$127 million

985 jobs


$72 million

384 jobs


$106 million

572 jobs


$256 million

1859 jobs


$338 million

1751 jobs


$298 million

1783 jobs


$92 million

441 jobs

McConnel (Brisbane CBD)

$282 million

1243 jobs


$534 million

2978 jobs


$82 million

864 jobs


$47 million

270 jobs


$80 million

427 jobs


$598 million

3218 jobs


$4050 million

22657 jobs

Community Employment & Training Political Queensland Government

LNP : Liberal National Party :
PO Box 940, Spring Hill QLD 4004, Queensland Wide
07 3844 0666
07 3844 0388
LNP :  Liberal National Party
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