Anger over sugar industry bill continues

MEMBER for Maryborough Bruce Saunders has launched a stinging attack on Ted Sorensen, saying the state member for Hervey Bay voted in favour of the Sugar Industry Amendment Bill despite warnings there "would be dire consequences".

"We now see the results with over $800 million dollars of future investment being stopped immediately," Mr Saunders said.

"The member for Hervey Bay was there and knowingly voted for it even though it would have a direct affect on his constituents as well."

On Thursday, Thai-based company Mitr Phol indicated it would no longer be going ahead with the $660 million Mary Harbour Project, citing investment uncertainty after the passing of the bill, which gives canegrowers greater say in who marketed their product.

Mike Barry, chief executive officer of MSF Sugar, which is owned by Mitr Phol, said the bill had created "uncertainty and discomfort" for the company and its shareholders, leading to the decision to put plans for the Mary Harbour development and expansions at the Maryborough sugar mill on hold.

"Hold on to your hats because the future of the Maryborough Sugar Factory's 122 years history is unknown," Mr Saunders said.

"With nearly 800 jobs directly and indirectly associated with MSF for the region and if these jobs are lost the impact will be dire."

Attempts were made to contact Mr Sorensen but he could not be reached for comment.

Topics:  fraser coast sugar industry

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