LETTERS: by Bill MicolaNews Weekly
Cane farmers feel 'alienated'
, December 13, 2003
I recently chaired a meeting of canefarmers, the Sugar Industry Reform Committee and Hon. Bob Katter MP in Ingham.
The meeting was well attended by over 350 growers and supporters from the local area.
A motion was proposed to be put to the Canegrowers' Board in Brisbane by Invicta Board Member, Max Menzel.
It said, in part, "That the Ministerial Directive be immediately removed and a guarantee be sought from the Federal Government forthwith to ensure that no NCP (National Competition Policy) penalties be enforced on the State government as a result (as requested by State Primary Industries Minister, Henry Palaszczuk) ...
"That the domestic price subsequently be raised to encompass a realistic price for domestic sugar.
"That price support to the sugar industry be in the form of a government guaranteed loan to supplement the price pool, with interest paid by Government ...
"That each sugar producing district be allocated a quota of loan monies to be paid back through QSL (Qld Sugar Ltd), once the pool price increases to $300/tonne; and
"That the loan would be progressively paid off by the amount skimmed off over that figure to leave a minimum pool price of $300/tonne".
The motion was read out and those present were asked if they wanted any discussion or clarification. None was requested.
The meeting was asked if it supported the motion being put to the Board on its behalf.
There was not one dissenting voice, the motion was supported unanimously.
At the Board Meeting in Brisbane, when the motion was put by Mr Menzel, not one other single Board member would second the motion that the growers had so strongly endorsed in Ingham.
Is it any wonder that the industry is in the position it now is?
Is it any wonder that the growers feel so alienated and betrayed by their own organisation?
It appears that the calls at the meeting for new representation on the Canegrowers' Committees and Boards won't be before time.Bill Micola,