Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick has called on the Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch to explain why critical funding for day to day operational funding for the Mossman Mill, including wages, is now in jeopardy.
Mr Dick said the Palaszczuk Labor Government took decisive action to secure the future of the Mossman Mill in late December 2018, with a $25 million support package to create a new bioprecinct, which could add significant value to local cane and sugar production through the production of biofuels.
The Federal Government then committed $20 million to be used for operational funding, including wages.
“Everyone understood the State’s support was focused on the delivery of the bioprecinct, with the Federal funding designed to support ongoing operations to allow the transition to occur. This approach is consistent with our relevant constitutional roles and was fully supported by Far Northern Milling,” he said.
Mr Entsch told the Cairns Post of February 15 this year that:
‘there had been an issue with the money – the funding stream it came from meant it could not be used for day-to-day operations like wages, which the farming co-operative Far Northern Milling needed – but that had since been fixed.’
Mr Entsch further stated that:
“We found a more flexible funding bucket, of exactly the same amount, to allow them to do what they need to do.”
Mr Dick said it now appears the federal government has reneged on this deal to provide operational funding.
“A statutory instrument tabled in Federal Parliament (attached) on 29 March 2019 by Minister Karen Andrews, subsection 5, states the following:
“The program provides funding to Far Northern Milling Pty Ltd (FNM) to support the capital upgrade and maintenance of the Mossman Mill.”
“It is my understanding that because of this restriction, Far Northern Milling is unable to use the federal funding for day-to-day operations like wages, contrary to Mr Entsch’s election promise.
“The local State Member for Cook Cynthia Lui and I are deeply concerned that the Federal Government will not honour the commitment made to Far Norther Milling Company, and the people of Mossman.
“A deal is a deal and a promise is a promise. When we make a promise, we deliver it.”
“The Queensland Government will not be changing the deal we entered into with growers and nor should Mr Entsch. Mr Entsch and the LNP need to deliver on their promise today.”