Newly released data highlighting sugarcane's contribution to the Queensland economy has sparked action against farming regulations.
Newly released data highlighting sugarcane's contribution to the Queensland economy has sparked action against farming regulations. Peter Carruthers

There's still hope for farmers

NEWLY released data highlighting sugarcane's contribution to the Queensland economy has sparked action against new farming regulations.

Canegrowers say the new rules risk flattening regional communities.

But there is still hope of turning the regulations back.

LNP Senator Susan McDonald used the economic data to successfully move a motion last week to establish a Senate inquiry into the laws recently passed by the Queensland Government.

Growers say the state's Reef Bill threatens the prosperity of Queensland sugarcane farmers as they will be forced to comply with new runoff regulations as well as keep detailed soil tests and records of fertilisers and chemicals used.

Senator McDonald said farmers had reached out to the Federal Government in desperation after their submission to Labor Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk about the new laws was ignored.

"Farmers are the best custodians of the land, they have improved their management methods and continue to improve, but none of this has been taken into account by a Labor government completely lacking understanding when it comes to primary production," Senator McDonald said.

"This is despite Canegrowers Queensland reporting that 70 per cent of its members are engaged in the Best Management Practice Smartcane Program."

Information released by Canegrowers Queensland this month said $1 in every $6.42 generated in the state's economy is from the sugar industry.

The document also said the industry provided more than 9800 direct jobs and $379million in wages and income, with a majority of this generated in regional Queensland.

Whitsundays MP Jason Costigan said when it came to the Senate, his hands were tied, but he supported Senator McDonald's move.

"This is a state issue - unless we get a government that is pro-farming, pro-agriculture, pro-regions, we in North Queensland will continue to rot and more farmers and graziers will go out the back door," he said.