People changing their world
 

THE TRUTH IS

The Cane industry has been changing for decades. 

Recognising that change was on the horizon, the Queensland sugar cane industry sprung into action. 

 

 
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The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on planet earth.

IT IS HOME TO SPECIES THAT ARE COMPLETELY UNIQUE TO THIS PART OF THE WORLD, AND COVERS AN AREA ROUGHLY THE SIZE OF ITALY.

millions OF TOURISTS VISIT QUEENSLAND TO EXPLORE THE REEF EACH YEAR.

 
 
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OUR FLAGSHIP PROJECT

Project Cane Changer

 

Project Cane Changer is an initiative designed to recognise Queensland’s sugar cane farmers for their positive farming practices and their contribution to protecting the Great Barrier Reef.  Funded by the Queensland Government Department of Environment and Science, the project is driven by the CANEGROWERS organisation, in partnership with human behaviour experts, Behaviour Innovation.

THE STORY

The Queensland cane industry has a long history of innovation. 

However, it is currently facing challenges around water quality and the sustainability of the industry. In recent years, the industry has received much attention regarding the run-off from cane farms and its link to poor water quality affecting the Great Barrier Reef. Despite all that is being said about cane farmers, there is one thing that we know for certain: farmers love the Reef and take pride in stewarding their land. 

Cane Changer understands that growers have a long history of changing their practices. Cane Changer also understands that growers are open to the idea of making further changes if there are better ways of doing things. Therefore, the goals of the Project are simple: recognise the hard work that farmers have put in to their industry, foster innovation and positive change, and 'Set the Record Straight' with regards to the public image of the Australian sugarcane industry. 

The project draws on evidence-based principles of psychology and human behaviour to design, implement, and evaluate an industry wide program that aims to understand the day-to-day challenges facing cane farmers and to recognise, value and accelerate their efforts to adopt farming practices that help protect the Reef.

The Journey

In May 2016, the Great Barrier Reef Water Science Taskforce (the Taskforce) handed down its final report and recommendations for improving water quality entering the Reef. Cane Changer was included within Recommendation 3 of the Taskforce Report, specifically with respect to the development of behaviour change programs. Beyond Recommendation 3, Cane Changer also addresses multiple recommendations from the Taskforce and engages the industry from the grass roots level to help address those recommendations.    

Phase One of the Project was completed late 2016, where the BI team took to the cane fields of Queensland to meet the growers, their families, and all of those who work in the industry. This initial phase laid the foundation for broader program delivery.

Phase Two of the Project was officially launched across the Wet Tropics in February 2017 by the former Minister for Environment, Dr Steven Miles. The second phase of the Project will run for two years and be inclusive to all farmers in the Wet Tropics region. Further to launching Cane Changer, Minister Miles signed a Cane Changer Commitment in July 2017, joining over 100 farmers in recognising his commitment to the industry.

In January 2018, newly appointed Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Leeanne Enoch demonstrated her support and commitment to the sugar industry by signing a Cane Changer Commitment on the farm of a local Innisfail cane farmer, Joseph Marano.  

To date, Cane Changer continues to be a unique demonstration of the diverse application of behavioural science to create behaviour change at a population level.

Phase Two is currently underway and seeks to continually strengthen the industry in its attempts to “Set the Record Straight”.

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"My father's father and his father farmed this land before me. There's not a single part of it I don't know."
 
The work being done by Project Cane Changer is positive and is bringing attention to the work that growers have been doing for a long time.”
“I commit to supporting this Project to achieve the outcome they and the industry deserve.
— Tully Grower.
 
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