Power hikes tipped to cripple Far North growers
HUNDREDS of fruit and vegetable growers are expected at a public meeting at Mareeba today to hear about proposed power price hikes that have been predicted to "cripple" some sectors of the agricultural economy.
Among the worst hit by draft recommendations from Queensland Competition Authority will be cane growers, particularly the 70 per cent who use power to irrigate.
Steve Greenwood, Canegrowers chief executive, said the 17.5 per cent increase would put $5000- $10,000 on growers' power bills.
"This threatens the very ability of growers to even maintain current levels of agricultural production, let alone increase it.
"This is contrary to government's four-pillar economy policy and plans to double agricultural production," Mr Greenwood said.
Tableland Canegrowers manager Bronwyn Dwyer said while it was good the QCA draft determination made irrigation tariffs transitional for seven years, they had determined a 17.5 per cent increase on those tariffs for the next year which would "cripple" irrigators.
Mrs Dwyer said the increase depended on the tariff and the amount of electricity used but she said it would be $5000 to $10,000.
She said Tableland sugarcane growers relied on irrigation.
President of the Mareeba District Fruit and Vegetable Growers, Joe Moro, said the proposed increases were disappointing and ran counter to the State Government's plan to double agriculture production by 2030.
Maryannn Salvetti, who has three cane farms on the Tableland, said the proposals were "appalling" in the light of years of power price rises.
QCA will present its draft determination at the RSL Club in Byrnes Street, Mareeba at 10am today.
NEW CAIRNS.COM.AU COMMENT POLICY
We welcome your comments on this story. Comments are submitted for possible publication on the condition that they may be edited. Comments submitted without a full name and suburb/location will not be considered for publication. Please read our full comment policy and publication guidelines.
Share this article
Growing pains: Joe Moro said it was very difficult for farmers to absorb massive increases in power costs.