Cane growers commit to change for the Great Barrier Reef

Published Thursday, 20 July, 2017 at 02:31 PM

Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for National Parks and the Great Barrier Reef
The Honourable Steven Miles

More than 100 cane growers have pledged to protect the Great Barrier Reef by signing up to a Palaszczuk Government program that improves the long-term sustainability of farms and the environment.

Minister for the Great Barrier Reef Steven Miles today (20 July) joined 109 people who have already signed a Cane Changer Commitment.

He signed the document at the CANEGROWERSPolicy Council meeting in Brisbane.

“The Palaszczuk Government has committed $2 million over two years for the Cane Changer project,” Mr Miles said.

“This level of funding builds on our track record of supporting the cane industry by funding the Smartcane Best Management Practice program and many other projects over the years.

“There have been some fantastic results in just five months from the Cane Changer project with over 380 people engaged. We’ve seen large and small, corporate and family owned farms come on board.

“This shows a real commitment from growers and I applaud their efforts to manage their land in an environmentally sustainable way.”

Innisfail farmers, in particular, are forging a path for others to follow. They are leading the way in terms of signed commitments and properties accredited under the Smartcane Best Management Practice program.

“Whether you are a grower, a mill worker, or involved in the sugar industry, you can make a commitment to the long-term protection and sustainability of the environment,” Mr Miles said.

The Cane Changer project is being delivered in the Wet Tropics region in partnership with CANEGROWERS and human behaviour experts Behaviour Innovation.

Behaviour Innovation Chief Executive Officer Dr John Pickering said cane growers were determined to set the record straight.

“The cane industry has a rich history of innovation and they are using their knowledge and experience to address the latest challenges they face.

“We are working with cane growers to tell their story and demonstrate the changes they are making on their land.”

CANEGROWERS Chief Executive Officer Dan Galligan thanked Mr Miles for his support of Cane Changer which was empowering growers.

“It’s providing a platform for recognising the work they’ve done and continue to do to maintain both a profitable farm and a healthy environment.

“We are proud of our members and we are delighted that Mr Miles is recognising this.

“A partnership between government and industry, that puts farmers at the centre of the solution, is yielding great results for the reef.”

Mr Miles committed to:

  • acknowledging the ongoing efforts of Queensland cane growers for improving their farming practices, especially as they relate to the health of the Great Barrier Reef;
  • recognising the important role that cane growers play for the State of Queensland; and
  • working collaboratively with the sugar industry for a better future for the industry and the environment.

For more information about the project, visit 


Media contact: Katharine Wright - 0422 580 342