CSR welcomes sugar industry reform program

CSRLimited welcomed today’s announcement by the Howard/Anderson Government of a$444 million sugar industry reform program.A critical component of the program is its clear focus on substantiveindustry reform, which will ensure that Australia retains a dynamic and viablesugarcane industry into the future.

“This package provides a sound balance between providingincentives for significant structural reform, targeted funding for industry consolidationand longer term development funding for diversification,” said CSR ManagingDirector Alec Brennan.

“The Federal Government has delivered on its commitment tosupport major reform, and it is now up to us as industry participants to carrythe process through.”

To compete successfully with the world’s largest producer,Brazil, Australia’s sugarcane growers and millers are making impressiveimprovement in farm productivity, asset utilisation and labour efficiency.However cost reduction and structuralimprovement will only go part of the way.

“CSR supports the government’s focus on diversifying theindustry’s revenue sources away from the volatile world sugar market to otheractivities, such as ethanol production and renewable energy generation.As a major participant in the industry, CSRbelieves it can play a constructive role in diversifying the industry’s revenuesources,” Mr Brennan said.

“We are committed to do what we can to ensure asustainable sugar industry into the future and remain confident that with thesupport of this program, that goal can be achieved.CSR has already announced an investment of over $100 million todevelop a renewable energy project to support this objective.”

CSR, Australia’s largest sugarcompany, manufactures about 40% of the nation’s raw sugar and has interests insugar refining and ethanol production.The group operates seven raw sugar mills in the Burdekin, Herbert andMackay regions of Queensland, which last year produced 2.1 million tonnesof raw sugar from milling 14.2 million tonnes of sugarcane.CSR’s sugar operations employ over 1,800people.