Monthly Newsletters

Chairman's Comment

2020 Crush Start

​The 2020 crush kicked off in the Bundaberg Mill Area on Monday 6 July. Bingera got off to a good start and performed well all week. Millaquin had issues from the very start and has lost considerable time in the first few days. Bin allocations increased as the week progressed suggesting that headway was being made with mill performance. The inconsistency and variability of bin allocations is very frustrating and difficult to manage. Excuses must be getting thin by now as it seems this happens every year at Millaquin, while Bingera runs like a clock.


CCS at both mills was 13.35 for the week. Highs of 15.90 for KQ228A and 15.70 for Q240A have been recorded. It’s too early to get an idea on how we are comparing to the estimate.


There have been a few groups that have not filled their allocated bins in the first week. Most of those are related to mechanical issues and are hopefully now all sorted. Groups need to make every effort to fill all their allocations every day. In a short crushing season bin numbers can escalate very quickly and get unmanageable.


Cane Analysis Program Auditors

We have a full contingent of auditors and have full audit coverage at mills again this year.


Millaquin saw a bumpy start to the week with issues relating to the juice sampler, sample collection turntable and steam out which resulted in multiple missed samples. Steam out issues were rectified by connecting high pressure steam to the steam line. Issues with the sampler were repaired on Friday and new sensors have been ordered for the turntable. NIR was switched on for payment on Monday 13 July at 7:40am, sample number 715.


Bingera has operated relatively smoothly for the first week with fibre sampling being the main concern with two (2), 24 hour composite samples being discarded due to possible contamination.


Insufficient fibre samples have been obtained to be able to start the three (3) day rolling class fibres. This issue has been addressed with the mill and a camera will be installed at the fibre sampling bench for audit purposes.


Rates

In 2019 Council collected $4,960,000 in general rates from Category 9 (Agricultural Land), this represented around 5.88% of the total budget. The recently announced budget will see Category 9 ratepayers pay $9,999,219 or 12.41% of the budget.


I’m very disappointed with the decision that the Bundaberg Regional Council has made. Our Mayor said in his pre election promises, that he “... would minimise any extreme impacts on farm rates’ and that “...he expected the overall rate revenue increase to be in line with CPI”.


He speaks with a forked tongue, as the saying goes.


Yes, land values have increased and that has played a part, but the Council has many methods available to lessen the impact.


The Council promotes the agriculture sector in its advertising for the region, and then throws it under a bus. Many other regions in Queensland have had Valuer-General’s land valuation increases BUT have kept rural rates the same as last year.


It seems agricultural land holders are being kicked to give our city cousins a reprieve. That is not acceptable. We are not a cash cow.


“On 4 March 2020, the Valuer-General issued annual land valuations for the Bundaberg Region, effective from 30 June 2020. Landowners should have received advice about their new valuations and should lodge an objection to the Valuer-General by 5 May 2020 if they disagree with the amount. Preliminary modelling shows the average valuation increase across the Bundaberg Region is 5.4% but it varies significantly across categories and locations. In the agricultural category, valuations have changed from -33% to +321% or from a reduction of $67,500 to an increase of $4 million. These changes are largely driven by growers diversifying or transitioning to high-value crops such as macadamias and avocados. There are tools which Council can use to minimise bill shock for farmers and if re-elected on 28 March I’ll work with councillors and staff to minimise any extreme impact on farm rates. I expect the overall rate revenue increase to be in line with CPI.”


- Jack Dempsey
Mayor

Extract from The Bundaberg District Canegrower Newsletter, March 2020
Regional Council Election Special Newsletter.


See page 3 for the full impact, which for most agriculturally rated properties, 94% see an increase well above CPI and most with an increase of greater than 60%. Five (5) lucky owners get an increase of at least 191%.


Electricity

The QCA released their final electricity pricing for the 2020/21 financial year.


Prices for tariffs T62, T65 and T66 are unchanged, however Tariff 20 falls 3.2% to 23.258 cents per Kwh and the controlled load tariff, T33 as a secondary tariff, has decreased to 16.331 cents per Kwh.


QCA had decided not to introduce load control tariffs as primary tariffs, despite the AER approving the necessary network tariffs that enable these tariffs however, following representation by a number of groups including Bundaberg Regional Irrigators Group and CANEGROWERS, Minister Lynham issued a new delegation to QCA requesting them to develop three (3) new controlled load retail standard tariffs to be added to the 2020-21 tariff schedule by 1 November.


Along with the announced price of 16.3 cents per Kwh for T33, tariffs will finally enable many of our members to apply more irrigation water to their crops and increase the regions overall productivity. This is an extremely good outcome for Bundaberg and Queensland Irrigators.


COVID-19

In this edition there is a template for a COVID-19 Workplace Health & Safety Plan. Every business needs to have one of these. If you hire Seasonal Workers a Health Management Plan is required. If you need assistance completing yours, please contact Tanya on (07) 4151 2555.


Reef Regulations

The purpose of the Reef Regulations campaign is to drive the public towards an MP-sponsored petition to revoke the Environmental Protection (Great Barrier Reef Protection Measures) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019 and establish an Office of Science Quality Assurance to check the science being used to justify political actions.


We have received over 4,500 signatures on the petition and this number continues to grow. If you haven’t already signed the petition you can do so by calling into the office or by visiting https://www.parliament.qld.gov.au/work-of-assembly/petitions/petition-details?id=3344. The petition closes on 4 September 2020.


Farewell Veronica Timm

Veronica Timm has now retired and is hoping to reduce her golf handicap. Veronica was with Bundaberg CANGEGROWERS for 15 years as the Manager of Administration and Finance and was instrumental in the for establishment of Bundaberg Regional Irrigators Group and Grain in Cane Co-Operative to name a few. Her knowledge and experience will be missed. On behalf of Bundaberg CANEGROWERS, thank you and enjoy your retirement. Tanya Howard will take on most of Veronica’s duties.


Allan Dingle

Chairman

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