Hear­ing sub­mis­sions

Central Queensland News - - RURALWEEKLY -

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 ACCC:

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.

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