Grant comes to the rescue for M’boro canegrowers

As the Maryborough cane growing community prepares for its first crush without its sugar mill, the Federal Government has provided a $2.5 million grant allowing cane from the city and further afield to be processed at the Isis Central Sugar Mill.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the funding will be used to build a transloader facility in Childers to transport sugarcane from Maryborough, Gympie and the Sunshine Coast.

"The closure of the Maryborough Sugar Mill left a number of growers in the region in limbo," Mr McCormack said.

"An agreement with Isis Central Sugar Mill, which is being finalised, means that cane will now be crushed, however, infrastructure is required in order to get the sugarcane to the Isis Mill.

"The $2.5 million Community Development Grant will go towards the construction of a transloader to offload the cane.

"It will then be taken by rail to the Isis Mill."

The closure of the Maryborough mill, which had operated in the city for 126 years, came after MSF Sugar sold more than 5000 hectares of can land to Australian company Rural Funds management for $8.1 million. 

The settlement went ahead in October and the company has confirmed it will be converting more than 2000 hectares of cane land to growing macadamia nuts.

Federal Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said he had been a strong advocate for the sugar industry.

"The Federal Government has provided $6.2 million in funding to Isis Central Sugar Mill in recent years: $5 million to construct 36km of cane railway track from Cordalba to Wallaville and $1.2 million for the Gayndah Regional Irrigation Development project," Mr Pitt said.

Isis Central Sugar Mill chief executive officer John Gorringe said the Federal Government's $2.5 million in funding would be matched by the Isis Mill.

"We're very grateful to the Federal Government and our local Federal Member Keith Pitt for continuing to support the Isis Central Sugar Mill," he said.

"The transloader facility, which we expect to have operational before the crushing season starts, will allow Isis Mill to take cane from Maryborough and surrounding areas."