(QldGovSpin) State government offers further duty relief to cane farmers

Submitted by Editor on Sat, 11/09/2004 - 22:45

More sugar cane farmers would now be able to access the Beattie Government's duty relief scheme, the Acting Premier and Treasurer, Mr Terry Mackenroth, announced today.

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Deputy Premier, Treasurer & Sport, Terry Mackenroth
treasurer@cabinet.qld.gov.au
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10/09/04

Mr Mackenroth said changes to the scheme had been introduced after further consultation with cane growers.

He said the scheme was designed to encourage amalgamation and more efficient and profitable farming.

"In May, we announced a duty concession scheme to operate over the next two years for farmers who purchase adjoining sugar cane properties worth up to $500,000," Mr Mackenroth said.

"The relief is offered to encourage farmers to consolidate non-viable cane properties into a more efficient farm business.

"The State Government is prepared to forgo revenue of up to an estimated $5 Million if it means Queensland gets a more productive and viable sugar industry."

Consultation on improvements to the scheme involved representations from CANEGROWERS in Brisbane and Innisfail, including a meeting with the Premier and the Minister for Primary Industries at the Innisfail Community Cabinet in August.

Mr Mackenroth said now under changes to the scheme, purchased farms will not need to be adjacent, however both farms to be consolidated need to supply cane to a common mill.

"This improvement gives farmers some flexibility while ensuring both farms are used together as a single working cane farm," he said.

"We will also provide relief for some 'mixed use' farms where the purchased farm and the existing farm are not solely used for sugar cane production.

"However, at least 75 percent by area of each property must be used for sugar cane production to ensure we are providing relief where it is intended."

Mr Mackenroth said in addition, the $500,000 cap would only relate to the land value and the duty would not relate to other business assets or water entitlements purchased with the farmland.

"This will mean other assets like machinery purchased in the transaction cannot push the value of the farm past the threshold and, ultimately, render the purchaser ineligible for duty relief," he said.

Mr Mackenroth said consolidation was needed amongst many farms in Queensland for the future viability of the sugar industry.

"Almost 80 percent of cane farms in Queensland produce less than 13,000 tonnes of cane," he said.

"The advice from financial institutions is that a viable farm size today would produce 15,000 tonnes.

"There are approximately 1,300 cane farms in Queensland producing less than 4,000 tonnes.

"Each of these improvements will make cane farm consolidation more attractive for Queensland farmers."

The duty exemptions come after the Beattie Government also decided in May to continue an existing exemption in which the gifting of cane farms to children or grandchildren is duty-free.

That provision is worth an estimated $7.3 Million over three years.

Earlier this year, the Beattie Government also approved a $33 Million sugar assistance package, following agreement with industry to undertake much-needed reforms.

Further enquiries: (07) 3224 6900

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