Sugar industry will be ‘rosy'

TWEED'S sugar cane farmers are being reassured the local sugar industry has a “rosy future” despite the electricity co-generation plant at the Condong mill going into receivership.

Both the Condong and Broadwater co-generation plants, which have been plagued with problems, including a collapse in prices for so-called “green electricity”, were placed in receivership earlier this week.

But chairman of the Tweed River branch of the Canegrowers Association Robert Quirk was yesterday at pains to stress that growers should not be affected.

And despite a predicted “horror” crop this year following floods, he said good times lay ahead.

Mr Quirk said growers were assured at the annual general meeting of the NSW Sugar Milling Co-operative last Friday that the appointment of receivers to the plants would not affect them.

“We got a very strong reassurance from Chris Connors (co-op CEO) that it wouldn't affect us. He's doing the absolute best he can and he's got our full support.”

Mr Quirk said that although the mill “buys its steam” from the co-generation plant, those arrangements were being renegotiated.

“It's in everybody's interest to keep the plants operating,” he said.

Mr Quirk said the Sugar Co-operative would be debt-free in 18 months and growers had a secure future.

“We are encouraging growers to plant as much cane as they can this year so we can get a much better crop next year,” he said. “We just need to maximise the 2012 crop and there is a rosy future.”

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