Paul Schembri to retire after almost four decades as a sugarcane representative

Zoe Thomas
By Zoe Thomas
May 10 2022 - 4:00am
Paul Schembri first joined a local growers' committee as a 23-year-old in 1983. Photo supplied.

Canegrowers chairman Paul Schembri is set to retire later this month after almost four decades as a dedicated sugarcane representative.

Mr Schembri first joined a local growers' committee as a 23-year-old in 1983. He has since served in a range of Canegrowers roles, whilst also running a farm in the Mackay region with his brother.

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Mr Schembri served as the Canegrowers chairman since 2013 and also served as chairman of the Australian Cane Growers Council. He is currently vice-president of the World Association of Beet and Cane Growers.

The cane grower said the current sugar industry was unrecognisable from the one he joined in the 1980s - having evolved through crippling low sugar prices, rapid expansion, deregulation and, in recent years, the drive to meet community and government expectations of environmental responsibility.

"The great opportunity that I had was to start so young," Mr Schembri said.

"It's a great privilege to represent growers on the state, national and international stage.

"The industry has been here for over 150 years, we're one of the oldest, most mature industries in Australia, and we will continue to adapt.

"World sugar prices are currently strong and Australian cane growers are well positioned to demonstrate our environmental credentials as some of the most environmentally sustainable farmers in the world.

"Challenges will come and go but if we stay united and get our voice out there, we will have a bright future."

Mr Schembri said he looked forward to spending more time farming.

"I felt it was a good time for me to retire and a good time for the organisation to reset," he said.

"Renewal is a great thing."

Canegrowers CEO Dan Galligan said Mr Schembri's passion and dedication to working for growers had made an enormous impact on the industry and the organisation over the past four decades.

"Paul's impact on the culture of Canegrowers has been profound," Mr Galligan said.

"He has brought about a sharpened focus to how we consider and service our members with passion and integrity.

"Through his work he has gained respect from growers on the international, national, state and local stage.

"Paul's positive and collaborative approach has inspired many people. He should be very proud of his contribution and the industry should be very grateful for his service."

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The next Canegrowers chairman will be elected after the organisation's triennial elections in every sugarcane region of Queensland.

Zoe Thomas

Zoe Thomas

Journalist - North Queensland Register/Queensland Country Life

Northern based journalist at North Queensland Register and Queensland Country Life.

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