News and Views

Grower group disappointed at illegal chemical claim

Sugarcane growers’ organisation CANEGROWERS has expressed surprise and disappointment at an allegation made to The Prince of Wales during his Queensland visit that some farmers were using chemicals banned decades ago and allowing them to run to the Great Barrier Reef.

Chairman Paul Schembri said he would welcome the opportunity to show Prince Charles around a modern Australian sugarcane farm.

“The sale and use of herbicides and pesticides on cane farms in the Reef catchment is highly regulated,” Mr Schembri said.

“CANEGROWERS has no knowledge of any continuing use of banned chemicals and if allegations have been voiced to a Royal visitor to that effect, they should also be raised with the appropriate authorities.

“The Reef is in our backyard – cane growers work, live and play beside it and in it and have no desire to do it harm.

“Almost three quarters of the cane farming area of Queensland has been voluntarily enrolled in our industry best management practices program, Smartcane BMP, by growers who are committed to farming for sustainability as well as productivity and profitability.

“Our members are also actively engaged with local Natural Resource Management and other catchment organisations and government-led Reef programs.

“As an industry we are committed to playing our part to secure the future of the Reef.

“This commitment has led us on a decades-long journey of innovation and technological and farming practice change and I would be very happy to show Prince Charles around my farm and explain it to him first hand.”

CANEGROWERS is appreciative of the support of the Prince’s Trust Australia for the Prince of Wales Environmental Leadership – Reef Sustainability Award which recognises an individual or group’s exemplary efforts above and beyond the call of duty to raise awareness, foster knowledge-sharing, and engage local communities in sustainable natural resource management to protect and preserve the Reef.

The winner in 2017 was Innisfail banana growers Frank and Dianne Sciacca with Mackay cane grower Tony Bugeja the runner-up.


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