GROWERS, organisations and industry groups submitted statements to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources to be considered for the review. QSL:
QUEENSLAND Sugar Limited highlighted the importance of the sugar industry to the nation.
“The industry is critical to Australia’s national interest in both economic and regional community sense, and it is in Australia's national interest to promote competition for sugar marketing and assist the profitability of cane farmers,” they said.
“Australia is one of the leading exporters of raw sugar and sugar is one of Australia's largest agricultural industries, estimated to be worth over $2 billion in export earning to the Australian economy.”
They said it’s critical the code remains.
“The Sugar Code of Conduct has successfully fostered competition, efficiency and innovation in sugar marketing by providing an unobtrusive and light-handed framework which supports fair and effective commercial arrangements,” they said.
“QSL strongly believes that the Code is both necessary and effective, and should be retained. The Queensland legislation alone is not sufficient – because it may be repealed, and because it fails to provide an effective deadlock breaking mechanism in relation to negotiations of on-supply arrangements for sale of GEI sugar to marketers selected by growers.”
CANEGROWERS MACKAY CHAIRMAN AND GROWER KEVIN BORG:
“THE code has proven to address market failure resulting from the strong imbalance in bargaining power between our own miller and local growers,” he said.
“It is my belief, as well as those I represent, that if this regulation was removed our mill owner would almost instantly take us back to where this started and once again cancel our Cane Supply Agreements.
“They would take full advantage of their monopoly power, taking away all grower rights in the marketing of our two thirds grower economic interest in the sugar we produce.”
BURDEKIN GROWERS ANTHONY AND EMILY VASTA:
“BY working in parallel with the Queensland Sugar Industry Act, the code supports competition in the provision of raw sugar marketing services, a part of the raw sugar supply chain where competition previously did not exist,” they said.
“The code also lays out important guidelines for the conduct of negotiations that each party acts reasonably, fairy, honestly and co-operatively; and not mislead, harass, intimidate or oppress any other party or proposed party.”
THE Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said they were supportive of the code in their statement.
They said should the code cease to exist, they would see an increase in complaints and impasses in the negotiations of supply contracts and on non-supply agreements.
“The code was largely introduced to address the imbalance in market power between sugar cane growers and mill operators, which the ACCC understands to be problematic,” they said.