Bill to ‘balance’ millers, canegrowers’ interests
THE LNP has fought to strengthen the Queensland sugar industry with the release of a new draft bill.
Member for Burnett Stephen Bennett welcomed the new proposed Sugar Industry bill and commended shadow minister Deb Frecklington for working closely with producers and millers. “We recognise the industry needs to move forward in a co-operative environment, while making deregulation work in a co-operative environment, and we believe this bill goes a long way to achieving this,” Mr Bennett said.
“The LNP has worked hard to find a workable solution which preserves the interests of canegrowers in raw sugar, without imposing a transfer of ownership which is a concern of the millers.”
Ms Frecklington and Mr Bennett encouraged the local community to have its say on the proposed bill.
“The LNP has always recognised the value of the sugar industry to the state’s economy and we would like Queenslanders to consider this reform to help strengthen this vital industry,” Ms Frecklington said. “This exposure draft aims to achieve a workable solution to the sugar monopoly threatening regional growers by preserving their interests, but without imposing a transfer of ownership, strengthening the rights and futures of cane farmers,” she said.
Ms Frecklington added that, in contrast to the Katter bill currently before the Parliament, the LNP bill achieved the following:
Avoided expropriation of property rights which was a concern to sugar millers;
Maintained a reference to cane supply agreements where growers’ economic interest was to be recognised;
Did not provide for pre-contractual arbitration, but rather included a mechanism for dispute resolution if required; and
Allowed growers the choice of who markets their sugar through the cane supply agreement.
“The content of the bill has benefited from the consultation as part of the Senate inquiry and the work of the sugar marketing taskforce.”