February 8th 2003

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Old-growth forests and wildfires

COMMENT: Iraq's last chance to avert war

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Howard turns eyes to NSW poll

HIGH COURT: A further improvement in the High Court

STRAWS IN THE WIND: False Dawn / Iraq another Vietnam? / UN: ideal and reality

AGRICULTURE: Deregulation and low prices see sugar investment collapse

The fatal flaw in economic rationalism (letter)

Why men avoid fatherhood (letter)

Cattle grazing to cut bushfire risk (letter)

Firefighters deserve our thanks (letter)

Canberra's tragedy (letter)

Case against Saddam not established (letter)

Full story (letter)

Cane farmers' survey (letter)

PROFILE: Solzhenitsyn: the conscience of modern society

ASIA: China launches massive infrastructure expansion

VICTORIA: Taxpayers bankroll alternative lifestyles

ASIA: Taiwan's rural finance in trouble

BOOKS: ANSETT: the Collapse, by Geoff Easdown and Peter Wilms

BOOKS: Human Cloning and Human Dignity: The Report of the President's Council on Bioethics

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Cane farmers' survey (letter)

by Margaret Menzel

News Weekly, February 8, 2003

In recent months, sugarcane farmers have demonstrated their strong opposition to any further deregulation of the sugar industry at regional meetings, rallies (including the recent largest rally Townsville has ever seen where 4,000 were present), protests and through signing up to an alternative eight-point industry plan to make the industry profitable again.

A return to conditions of 100 years ago with no security for growers, contractors or industry workers and their communities will not be tolerated by growers.

Any move by the Federal or Queensland government that undermines the industry further will be seen as "rural treason" and a betrayal of rural and regional communities and the sugar industry.

Incredibly, the Queensland Government has distributed a questionnaire to cane farmers asking their opinion on a report it commissioned from the Centre for International Economics (CIE). The report recommended deregulation of the industry. One would have thought the growers' message to government had already been made very clear!

The Sugar Reform Committee has received numerous requests from growers opposed to deregulation and demanding the removal of the Ministerial Directive, which forces growers to sell their sugar below cost, at half the average world cost of production.

Growers and others who have been mailed the questionnaire are urged to respond, voice their opinion and demand a fair price for their product.

In order for growers to access additional sugar industry information, or should they wish to join the united voice of others who have sought to oppose deregulation and support the eight-point plan, they can contact Margaret Menzel at mailsack@bigpond.com (also PO Box 2252, Ayr, Qld 4807), or the Kalamia Canegrowers office in Ayr at kalcane@austarnet.com.au.

Margaret Menzel
Ayr, Qld

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