SUGAR JOBS: Mill boss responds to last crush rumours
THE head of one of Maryborough's biggest employers has spoken about the factory's future on the back of several redundancies, government reforms and one of the worst crushes in recent history.
Rumours have recently been circulating that this could be the last crush for the MSF Sugar's Maryborough mill but chief executive officer Mike Barry says there's nothing to them.
He told the Chronicle the mill was already busy planning for next year's crush, with this year's to be completed by November.
Last month it was confirmed that general manager Stewart Norton has been one of five redundancies.
In addition to Mr Norton, four other executive positions had been made redundant in recent times, but there had been no jobs cut on the operational side of the business.
The MSF company, which is part of the Thailand-based Mitr Pohl group, owns mills in Far North Queensland at Gordonvale, South Johnstone and Atherton Tablelands in addition to the Maryborough sugar mill.
Last year Mr Norton oversaw one of the biggest sugar cane crushes in Maryborough's history.
Last year, 800,000 tonnes went through MSF Sugar's Maryborough Mill, but cane supply manager Chris Coutts-Smith said this year they were expecting about 625,000 tonnes.
He said it was one of the worst results in recent times and it was due to drought conditions in February and March.
Mr Barry said this year was Maryborough's 125th crush and there would definitely be a 126th next year.
He acknowledged the harvest was down this year.
"We've like a better crop, but the mill have been running very well," he said.
Mr Barry said the mill took delivery of crops from as far away as the Sunshine Coast and directly employed about 120 people.
"The mill is important not only to the company but to the region," he said.