15 July, 2022
Plan unveiled for sugar industry to drive bio-economy boom
THE sugarcane industry could become the backbone of an Australian bio-economy superhighway under a plan unveiled at the Developing Northern Australia Conference.
The Sugar Plus vision and roadmap was developed in partnership by sugar industry organisations with support from the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) and the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.
CRCNA Chief Executive Officer Anne Stünzner said Sugar Plus outlined an important role for the industry in “Fuelling the Future of Food, Energy and Fabrication”.
“The sugarcane industry has identified an exciting and transformational future of sustainably producing sugar and bioproducts at the heart of regional communities,” Ms Stünzner said.
“The roadmap outlines opportunities for a substantially larger industry. A growing bio-economy industry will enable Australia to become increasingly self sufficient, improving economic resilience and national security.”
Ms Stünzner said analysis undertaken in developing the roadmap indicated enormous opportunity.
“Australian demand for heavy fuels and plastics is substantial. Even modest adoption of biofuels and bioplastic equates to a substantial amount of sugar equivalent alternative products,” she said.
“Australia’s current domestic market alone would create massive demand for alternative protein feedstock, aviation fuel and bioplastics.
“It’s now over to the industry to bring this roadmap to life and take the necessary steps to ensure this is not just a report but a clear plan for action,” she said.
Sugar Research Australia chief executive officer Roslyn Baker congratulated industry organisations for the strong partnership and collaboration in developing the roadmap and their commitment to innovation and growth.
“The roadmap includes initiatives to support better business-as-usual in the near term, add value and create new revenue streams in the medium term, and become a bioeconomy powerhouse in the longer term,” Ms Baker said.
The roadmap recognises that raw sugar will continue to play an important role in feeding the world and as an important feedstock for the new generation of animal free foods, but it also notes that sugarcane is one of the best natural sources for transforming into renewable energy and biofuels for heavy transport and aviation.
“The roadmap outlines the actions needed across a range of levels, from individual farms to local communities through regional coordination or support of a mill and national leadership,” Ms Baker said.