SUGAR RUSH: Facility approved, construction to start soon
Sugarcane from Fraser Coast will make its way to the Isis Central Sugar Mill via a new Cane Transloading Facility (Utility Installation) this crushing season should everything go to plan.
With the Bundaberg Regional Council's seal of approval and $2.5m in federal funding announced, ICSM CEO John Gorringe said construction would start quickly.
The Browns and Goodwood Rd site is expected to be handed over next week.
Mr Gorringe said the facility would be purpose-built and enable a "significant" amount of cane to be moved to the local mill.
He said they had been working with Smith Global on the project whereby an elevated cane transfer station would be constructed for the loaded vehicles to tip cane into rail bins.
The development is expected to facilitate a throughput increase from 50,000 tonnes (approximately) at the site to 500,000 tonnes.
As stated in the proposal documents, the cane presently brought to the site in haul-out trailers and trucks would need to be taken to other rail sidings after the implementation of this proposal as the facilities would not suit those vehicles.
Only vehicles from the Maryborough district would be able to use the transfer station.
The Combined (MCU, RL, OW) development application was approved by the council on February 23.
Mr Gorringe said they were appreciative of the council's support.
Last week Canegrowers welcomed the announcement of a Federal Government grant for a crucial piece of infrastructure to help Maryborough and Sunshine Coast growers get their sugarcane to Childers for crushing this year.
Canegrowers had called for government assistance after MSF Sugar announced the closure of the Maryborough Mill at the end of the 2020 season.
"This grant shows that a relatively small investment on the part of government can have a profound impact on the economic stability of a regional community," Canegrowers Maryborough Chairman Jeff Atkinson said.
"It gives longer term confidence to the 90 sugarcane growers in my region and job security to 140 farm workers and contractors.
"It is a good result all round - Maryborough sugarcane can now support a viable Isis Mill into the future."
Canegrowers Maryborough and Canegrowers Isis are working on behalf of members in the region to ensure all the pieces are in place for a successful 2021 season.
Isis Central Sugar Mill is matching the government grant so the facility will be operational before the season starts.
Queensland Government support is also being sought and if this is forthcoming, growers will have the confidence they need for a successful season that now only hinges on the urgent need for rain in the southern sugarcane regions of Queensland to promote crop growth.
Bundaberg Mayor Jack Dempsey said all government grants were welcome.
"Council has previously asked the federal and state governments to assist with a sugar industry transition package," he said.
"We need a broad strategic approach to help growers and the industry move forward with confidence.
"This welcome grant will help Isis Central Mill but I'm aware that Bundaberg Sugar also needs assistance and I hope that will be forthcoming."