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Sugar Manufactures Sweet Dividends for Bundaberg

Independent economic analysis commissioned by the Australian Sugar Milling Council has revealed a total direct and indirect economic contribution of $276 million from the sugar manufacturing sector in the Bundaberg region in 2017-18, underpinning a total of 1,716 regional jobs.

Using sugar mill spending data grouped by postcode, respected analyst Lawrence Consulting was able to calculate and quantify the sugar manufacturing sector’s contribution last financial year by Local Government Areas.

“Direct sugar manufacturing spend of $157 million at the Millaquin, Bingera and Isis Central mills generated significant community benefits in the Bundaberg Regional Council area,” ASMC’s Director of Economics and Trade, David Rynne said today.

“Sugar mills in the region pay wages to 383 employees, purchase cane from local sugarcane growers, and also contract many local businesses to provide the goods and services required to run and maintain raw sugar manufacturing,” Mr Rynne added.

“Modelling the flow-on effects of the mills’ direct expenditure allowed the total (combined direct and indirect) economic impact to be estimated.”

 Manufacturing contribution

In 2017, the region’s three sugar mills produced a total of 401,000 tonnes of raw sugar.

The Lawrence Consulting analysis showed that sugar manufacturing contributes about 6% to the Bundaberg economy in terms of Gross Regional Product.

Near Childers, Isis Central Mill is about to build the first significant new cane railway line since the 1990s with combined two-stage capital expenditure of $14 million. 

The region’s three mills currently have 35MW of installed renewable energy capacity from the firing of biomass (cane bagasse), exporting some 22,000MWh into the Queensland electricity grid in 2017 – enough to power around 3,140 private dwellings.

Sugar manufacturing suppliers

A local example of a supplier benefiting from a strong sugar manufacturing sector is Bundaberg Walkers Engineering, which constructs heavy industry equipment in use across Australia and around the world.

“Bundaberg Walkers is synonymous with the sugar industry in Queensland and internationally where its original custom-built manufacturing equipment is in constant demand,” said General Manager Enio Troiani.

“Bundaberg Walkers has made everything from cane haulage locomotives, to ships, to the largest sugar mill in the world, which is a massive achievement for a regional business,” Mr Troiani said.

“In addition to our sugar work, Bundaberg Walkers’ core staff of 110 has a wide range of experience in general engineering thanks to its diverse, home-grown manufacturing and technical capability.”