Wilmar mill operators Damien Kelly, (front) Cliff Strohfeldt, Craig Muddle, Katrina Warren, Adam Smith and Allan Whyte celebrate as the last of the cane goes into the Proserpine Mill for the 2019 crush season.
Wilmar mill operators Damien Kelly, (front) Cliff Strohfeldt, Craig Muddle, Katrina Warren, Adam Smith and Allan Whyte celebrate as the last of the cane goes into the Proserpine Mill for the 2019 crush season.

Full steam ahead for Proserpine Mill in ’uncharted times’

WILMAR Sugar has reassured growers that they continue to work towards having the Proserpine Sugar Mill operating for the start of the crush season in June.

John Pratt, executive general manager for Wilmar North Queensland, said the company had taken steps to manage risks to both their "people and our business operations".

He said the COVID-19 pandemic had placed the company in "uncharted territory", however, guidelines had been implemented to protect employees, contractors, suppliers and visitors to the site.

"It is too soon to know what impact this outbreak might have on our workforce, our growers or our operations," Mr Pratt said.

"However business continuity planning is well advanced across all milling regions, as well as for raw sugar transport, storage and shipping.

"In the meantime, we are continuing with the maintenance season works program at our eight mills."

It is currently unknown if sugar milling and growing would be deemed as an 'essential service' by the Federal Government.

But a spokeswoman for the Australian Sugar Milling Council, who have been lobbying the government to maintain the industry, said there was currently no expectation of being shut down.

Mr Pratt said they hoped to know shortly if the industry would be deemed 'essential'.

"We are monitoring the unfolding situation closely and continue to follow the advice of government and public health authorities," he said.

"As always, we will let people know as soon as possible if there are any changes that may impact operations."

Control measures for employees at the Proserpine Sugar Mill included minimising face-to-face meetings, implementing social distancing measures at worksites and self-isolation "in certain circumstances."

Control measures have also been introduced for contractors, suppliers and visitors which include restricting all non-essential visits to the site, preventing unannounced visits and introducing a health declaration to be completed by all visitors and contractors before

being granted access to a site.


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