Bob Katter greets the Bundaberg shoppers in Bourbong St.
Bob Katter greets the Bundaberg shoppers in Bourbong St. Mike Knott

Katter pledges ethanol switch

COLOURFUL politician Bob Katter wants sugar mills to start producing ethanol in a big way.

Mr Katter, leader of Katter's Australian Party, was in Bundaberg yesterday campaigning with his party's candidates in Bundaberg and Burnett, Doug Anderson and Kevin Pauling.

He said producing ethanol would prop up the market for sugarcane.

And he accused the Coalition of "destroying the sugar industry of this state".

Mr Katter said while sugar prices were good now, they were not going to hold up.

He said sugar prices were cyclic, and would come down in future.

Producing ethanol would give the market a base so workers in the industry would know they had their jobs forever.

"We will help the mills go from producing sugar to producing 50% ethanol," Mr Katter said.

He said Katter's Australian Party policy was to give the mills $200 million over seven years to make the transition.

They should also burn the cane trash to produce electricity.

"To all the people of Bundaberg, under us electricity and petrol will be cheaper," he said.

Mr Katter said if the mills produced ethanol it would give cane growers more control over the pricing of their cane.

Instead of the mills telling producers how much they would pay for cane, the growers would be able to tell the mills how much they would be paid, he said.

But Bundaberg Canegrowers chairman Alan Dingle was less enthusiastic about Mr Katter's ethanol project.

He said it was a big question, and a lot of groundwork would have to be done.

"The industry has looked at that over a long period of time, and as yet we have struggled to make that a viable proposition," he said.

Mr Katter also announced yesterday he would look at reinstating the 50% subsidy for infrastructure projects, such as sewerage works.

He said while he was not prepared to make any money commitment at this stage, it was something he was told was a great concern in the Bundaberg area.

"This is something we will turn our attention to," he said.

 

PROMISES

  • Sugar mills to switch to producing 50% ethanol.
  • Supermarkets forced to label foreign fruit and vegetables.
  • Consider reinstating subsidies for infrastructure projects.



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