Cane farmers short-changed on Labor’s water pledge

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto has accused Labor of leaving cane farmers in the lurch over their newly announced cuts to water irrigation charges.

CANE farmers have been left in the lurch after missing out on a 50 per cent cut in water irrigation charges announced by Labor today.

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto said he was shocked fruit and vegetable growers would be the main beneficiaries of the tariff cut, which would be implemented from July 1 next year if Labor is re-elected, while broad-scale crops like sugar cane would only receive a 15 per cent cut.

“Any cut to irrigated water tariffs is welcome, but why the disparity between broad-scale crops and fruit and vegetables?,” Mr Dametto said.

“Sugar cane growers across Queensland have every right to be outraged by this. They are being treated like the poor cousin.”

The move comes after Katter’s Australian Party MPs met with the Premier in September to propose a 25 per cent cut State irrigated water tariffs for farmers, which would add up to $220 million to the Queensland economy over the next four years.

“Our proposal is based on projections from the Australian Sugar Milling Council and is superior in every way to Labor’s. It doesn’t discriminate between different types of irrigated farming,” Mr Dametto said.

“A 25 per cent reduction in irrigated water charges would cost the government an estimated $68 million, but would generate an extra $220 million and another 140 jobs on top of the 23,000 people working because of the sugar industry.”

Mr Dametto said if the KAP found itself in a position of power to form government after the State election, it would be “pushing hard” for the major parties to commit to a 25 per cent cut in irrigated water tariffs across the board.

“The KAP recognises and supports all forms of agriculture in our state and we’ll be working hard to make sure all irrigators receive a fair go under our proposal,” he said.

Nick Dametto MP