MSF Sugar moves to secure future of local sugar industry

MSF Sugar has made an application to lease land for sugarcane production north of Maryborough.

MSF Sugar Maryborough Region general manager Stewart Norton said the proposal to access State-owned land would secure the future of the local sugar industry if approved by the State Government.

But Wide Bay Burnett Environmental Council president Roger Currie said the land was one of the largest unfragmented areas of native vegetation on the Fraser Coast.

He said the land contained essential habitat for endangered species along with significant ecosystems which drains directly into the Great Sandy Strait via the Susan River catchment.

Mr Currie asked where the water will come from to irrigate the cane.

Mr Norton said the sugar cane would be irrigated with recycled waste water.

He said if the proposal was approved it would be a win-win situation for the Fraser Coast region.

"All our farming is done in a sustainable manner and we already irrigate other farms with recycled waste water.

"The proposal was carefully considered prior to our application.

Mr Norton believes the development is viable and sustainable.

"Expansion of sugar cane production would underpin the future of the local sugar industry, which is one of the major employers in the region" he said.

Mr Norton said Government policy was to double agriculture production by 2040 and that expansion of cane lands in the Fraser Coast region met these objectives.

"Not only would the additional land provide more cane to be crushed at Maryborough Mill, it will also increase employment and support other suppliers associated with the local sugar industry," he said.

The proposal is to develop suitable areas within the site.

These would be selectively developed taking into account environmental considerations, if the proposal is approved.

Areas not used for farming would be left in their existing state.

At this stage, MSF Sugar has only lodged an application to lease the land and is awaiting a response to this application.

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