Meeting with minister helps ease concerns at Mackay Sugar

THEY have made a solid investment, so they want to make sure their future is stable.

With the review of the Renewable Energy Target scheme under way, Member for Dawson George Christensen thought it was timely to invite Federal Industry Member Ian Macfarlane to tour Mackay Sugar's cogeneration plant.

The review will determine if the RET scheme is efficient.

The hot mill produced sweat on the brows of those gathered, but Mackay Sugar chairman Andrew Cappello said after discussing the RET review, some of his concerns had been allayed.

"Our biggest concern was with the unwinding of the RET, I mean this is where we attract a lot of value for this cogeneration plant," he said.

"This was a huge investment for us.

"Given the size of our business, we have taken a pretty big risk.

"I think we have some comfort after speaking with the minister... he relaxed some of those fears." The RET is being reviewed as part of a coalition government promise.

While Mackay Sugar was locked into a six-year plan with Ergon Energy, Mr Cappello said it was essential for him to know the plant would be reasonably protected long-term.

"Until the main outcome (from) the review, we will remain a little nervous," he said.

Talk soon turned to the carbon tax.

In the last financial year Mackay Sugar footed a $1.7 million carbon tax bill.

Mr Cappello said that money would have been better spent in the mills.

Mr Macfarlane agreed.

"The mill is paying over $1 million per year in carbon tax," he said.

"We want to get rid of that tax, so our government can do what we were elected to do and that is to abolish the carbon tax and make Australia more competitive."



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