Independent analysis commissioned by the Australian Sugar Milling Council (ASMC) has revealed a total direct and indirect economic contribution in excess of $4 billion made by the sugar manufacturing sector in Queensland in 2017-18.
In the Bundaberg Region, the three raw sugar mills spent and generated a Gross Value Add (GVA) of $276 million, representing 5 per cent of gross regional product.
Some 1176 people were employed in the sugar industry, accounting for 6 per cent of jobs in the Council area.
Mayor Jack Dempsey said sugar continued to be a sweet contributor to the regional economy.
“The industry faces challenges from subsidised international competition and rising costs, but remains one of our most significant economic foundations,” he said.
ASMC Director of Economics Policy and Trade, David Rynne, said direct expenditure on payments to mill employees, cane growers and mill goods and services providers totalled almost $2.24 billion in the last financial year.
“You can't overstate the importance of a direct $2.24 billion injection into the state's economy,” Mr Rynne said.
“The direct payments stimulated a further $1.81 billion flow-on economic boost in sectors from farm and mill inputs to retail. All of this added up to a total of $4.05 billion gross value add and 22,657 jobs for Queensland.
“We also looked at spending by local government area and by electorate.
“By applying the economic modelling locally, we can literally follow the money by postcode and calculate the industry's direct and indirect contributions supporting local businesses and jobs.”
ASMC chief executive David Pietsch said the report from respected analysts Lawrence Consulting confirms the contribution of sugar manufacturing in terms of wealth and job creation in Queensland.
“We now have detailed data that shows the extent to which Queensland’s sugar mills underpin the regional communities in which they operate,” Mr Pietsch said.
“As we look ahead, despite the current concerns regarding low sugar prices, Queensland's milling enterprises are keen to grow and invest in new opportunities, if provided with the right economic signals and government policy settings.”