March 2019 - Agriculture pumps local economy
Agriculture in the Cassowary Coast region, particularly sugar cane and bananas, continues to underpin our local economy, providing jobs and wages and flow-on effects that reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
This is especially important as the online shopping trend continues to see precious local dollars being spent outside our region. An item may appear to be cheaper to buy via the internet but the flow-on effect of that is the closure of local businesses and job losses and therefore I encourage residents to shop locally.
Figures released by the Australian Sugar Milling Council show the contribution of sugar manufacturing to the Cassowary Coast local government area is pivotal to our long-term economic health.
In 2017/18 the Tully and South Johnstone raw sugar mills spent and generated the following gross value add (GVA) and employment: Direct contribution in terms of mill staff and wages was $40 million to 724 people; $23 million to 310 suppliers for mill goods and services; cane payments of $133 million to 615 farm enterprises employing 436 people, with flow-on of $71 million GVA, supporting an additional 582 jobs in the mill supply, farm inputs and retail sectors. This translates to a total $267 million GVA. In 2016/17 sugar manufacturing represented 17 per cent of the Cassowary Coast’s gross regional product and 1742 jobs or 13 per cent of total local employment.
In 2016/17 Queensland banana production accounted for 94 per cent of Australian production or 389,000 tonnes produced on 11,000 ha. More than 300,000 tonnes were from the Cassowary Coast region.
Farm production in Queensland was estimated at $572 million in 2016/17, expected to rise to about $580 million in 2017/18. Bananas have a national annual contribution of $1.3 billion (including flow-on economic benefits). The industry also accounts for more than 12,000 jobs – again mostly within our Far North Queensland growing regions, including the Cassowary Coast.
Tourism is also vital to our region, with our tourism dollars about to be boosted by the influx of visitors coming here for the World Rafting Champions from May 13 to 20.
MAYOR JOHN KREMASTOS