Yellow Canopy Syndrome… what Yellow Syndrome?


After nearly two and a half months as Queensland’s Labor Agriculture Minister, Leanne Donaldson was today unable to answer a simple question about a serious challenge facing the sugar industry.

Hinchinbrook MP, Andrew Cripps, who represents the sugar growing areas in the Herbert River district and the Cassowary Coast region, said Queensland’s $1.5 billion sugar industry should be concerned.

“I asked Minister Donaldson to update the House on the strategies in place to address the impacts of Yellow Canopy Syndrome (YCS) on the Queensland sugar industry,” Mr Cripps said.

“This kind of inexperience and ineptitude from Labor is holding Queensland’s vital agricultural sector back.

“This was a reasonable and important question about an issue which has serious implications for the productivity of the Queensland sugar industry and the Minister didn’t have a clue.

“I’m shocked that Queensland’s Agriculture Minister, especially one that comes from the sugar cane growing area of Bundaberg, couldn’t answer a simple question about the YCS issue.

“This is an alarming wake-up call, not just for the sugar industry, but for the entire agriculture sector, that Minister Donaldson is not across her portfolio and is not up to the job”.

Mr Cripps said YCS was an as yet undiagnosed condition affecting sugar cane crops in the central and northern cane growing regions in Queensland, which negatively impacted on crop yields.

“Minister Donaldson has had almost two and a half months to gain a basic understanding of the research and extension activities being undertaken to try and address the issue of YCS,” he said.

“The Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries is investing over $4 million into this work in the 2015-16 financial year, but the responsible Minister appears to be oblivious”.

Mr Cripps said the woeful performance of Minister Donaldson was a reflection of the lack of importance placed on Queensland’s agriculture sector by the Palaszczuk Labor Government.

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