Sugar Processing: Overview

Tall Cane

Queensland sugar is produced from the juice of a tropical grass called sugar cane (saccharum officinarum). From this comes one of Australia's largest export crops - raw sugar.

The majority of Queensland's sugar cane lands stretch along a coastal strip from Mossman in north Queensland to Beenleigh, south of Brisbane. Around 38 million tonnes of sugar cane is crushed annually producing 5.3 million tonnes of raw sugar (enough to fill more than 1,000 Olympic swimming pools). Queensland produces 95 percent of all Australian raw sugar.

Raw sugar is Australia's second largest export crop, earning around $1.2 billion in export sales each year. This major industry is directly and indirectly responsible for the employment of many thousands of Queenslanders.

In addition to its contribution to Queensland's economic growth, the sugar industry has been responsible for the development of many of the State's coastal cities.

From its humble beginnings, Queensland's raw sugar industry has grown into one of the world's most efficient and highly organised sugar industries.