Canegrowers Mackay CEO Kerry Latter says the economy is at risk if the State Government increases water prices for farmers.
Canegrowers Mackay CEO Kerry Latter says the economy is at risk if the State Government increases water prices for farmers.

YOUR SAY: Water price hike for farmers puts economy at risk

CANEGROWERS Mackay is urging the Queensland Government to step in and freeze water prices for farmers pending a review and resolution of significant issues not addressed in a recent report.

The recommendation from Queensland Competition Authority that irrigators pay significantly higher prices for water between 2020 and 2024 has left cane growers thinking this is another hit from a government seeking a short-term cash grab, same as they have done with electricity prices.

For example, cane growers accessing water from the Pioneer Valley water scheme in our region face an increase of 51 per cent over four years, if the government adopts the recommendations in full.

This level of extra impost, on top of high electricity costs, which have risen 136 per cent in 10 years, is beyond the capacity of farmers to absorb.

What will happen is that they may turn off their pumps and not use the water, meaning crops will underperform and there’s the real risk that some irrigation schemes will fail, jobs will be lost, because farmers can’t afford to use them.

You may grow a lot in mud, you grow nothing in dust.

Sugar makes an important contribution to our region’s economy.

It supports nearly 3800 jobs and contributes nearly $900 million to our region’s economy, with many small businesses that supply materials and engineering services to growers and millers depending on the industry and the jobs it may support in their local businesses.

The money is earned in our region, stays and circulates across our region’s economy and supports so many, directly and indirectly.

A price freeze is a practical and sensible step at this point to ensure that issues to secure the economic future of irrigated agriculture and our regional communities and economy that rely on it are properly considered.

I call on Julieanne Gilbert, Member for Mackay and as the Assistant Minister for State Development, to back our cane growers and our region by advocating for the price freeze.

Kerry Latter, Canegrowers Mackay CEO


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