Hinchinbrook poised for 2019 crush
THE familiar sight of freshly cut cane fields is set to return to Hinchinbrook as the countdown to crushing season fast approaches.
Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto said there was a “buzz in the air” across the electorate as residents, local businesses and mill workers geared up for the start of the season on June 25, weather dependent.
“This time of year excites us all. The mill will be installing the last of the mill chutes, assembling the shredders and running steam trials on the boilers, while the many cane harvesting contractors will be testing their machines and assembling their haul-out crews, no doubt itching to start. It’s traditionally the busiest time of year as money starts to flow back to our region,” he said.
“With the start of the crush comes some inherited dangers. Cane trains will be starting their 24 hour runs again and we will see an increase in heavy machinery on our local roads and highways. I urge everyone to obey the lights at level crossings and be mindful of the dangers where machinery will be crossing. Be vigilant and patient as it’s always best to arrive late than not at all.”
Sugar producer Wilmar estimates this year’s crop at 4.26 million tonnes of sugarcane, which is about 460,000 tonnes down on last year’s haul due to the impact of an extremely wet growing season and cloud cover.
“Our farmers haven’t been able to catch a break since flooding earlier this year. The weather hasn’t cut us any slack and this off season would have to be one of the wettest in recent times. Our district was forged on hard work and overcoming adversity and I’ve got every faith that we will make the most of this year’s season,” Mr Dametto said.
“Both Victoria and Macknade mills have completed a long list of capital works and maintenance during this season in preparation for the 2019 crush and from what I can see, they are ready for action. I’d like to acknowledge Wilmar’s investment of $35 million in its Herbert milling assets this year.
“Thank you to the hard working men and women who ensure our harvest season is a success every year. Cutting the cane and working the mills is no easy feat and I’d also like to acknowledge the many family members that act as a support network during this time. They play a vital part in our district during the season, not to mention keeping the households running. Without them or our seasonal workers, our district would struggle to keep up to the gruelling pace of the 24/7 crush.”