Water price is sweeter with election commitments

Sugarcane growers using water from state-owned irrigation schemes are set to be better off regardless of which party wins Saturday’s (October 31 2020) Queensland Election.

“We welcome the ALP’s announcement of a 15% cut in water charges for sugarcane growers,” CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan said. “This price reduction has the potential to save growers up to $15,000 a year which will make a big difference with the world sugar price low and electricity costs for pumping still very high.

“But we have plenty of questions about the two-tier promise the Labor Party has announced with fruit and vegetable growers set to see a 50% cut to their water costs.

“There are many, many CANEGROWERS members who grow both sugarcane and a vegetable crop pumping water for both from the same source and through the same infrastructure.

“We’ve never been in a situation before where the destination paddock has dictated the water price.”

Today’s (October 26 2020) ALP announcement follows a Liberal National Party commitment to cut irrigation water charges by almost 20% by changing the underlying fundamentals of the water pricing system, something that would have a different impact in different areas.

“We welcome the acknowledgement by both of the major parties that water is a critical but costly input for the future of agriculture in Queensland and that lower prices are needed,” Mr Galligan said.

“Both commitments approach the long-held position of CANEGROWERS that water prices need to come down by 20%.

“While the announcements raise questions, we look forward to these being worked through in consultation with industry and whomever forms government next week.

“The flow-on effects from profitable irrigated agriculture to the rest of the economy can be substantial.

“For every $1 invested by CANEGROWERS members in growing sugarcane, a further $6.40 is generated in economic activity in Queensland.”