Boswell steps up for sugar in­dus­try

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

QUEENS­LAND Se­na­tor Ron Boswell has launched a de­fence of the sugar in­dus­try in Fed­eral Par­lia­ment.

In a speech in the Se­nate on Wed­nes­day, Se­na­tor Boswell said he wanted to re­as­sure con­sumers that sugar is a safe in­gre­di­ent and a nat­u­ral part of life.

‘‘This is an im­por­tant ru­ral in­dus­try that de­serves to be sup­ported. Un­for­tu­nately, the sugar in­dus­try finds it­self un­der con­stant at­tack and fac­ing a bar­rage of anti-sugar pro­pa­ganda,’’ he said.

‘‘These at­tacks are of­ten based on claims from un­qual­i­fied, self-ap­pointed ‘ex­perts’ that sugar is caus­ing health prob­lems, such as obe­sity and di­a­betes.’’

Se­na­tor Boswell quoted or­gan­i­sa­tions and in­di­vid­u­als, such as the Di­eti­tians As­so­ci­a­tion of Aus­tralia and Pro­fes­sor Peter Clifton, coau­thor of the ‘‘CSIRO To­tal Well­be­ing Diet’’, as say­ing sugar con­sump­tion was not to blame for Aus­tralia’s in­creas­ing obe­sity lev­els.

‘‘The sugar in­dus­try gen­er­ates more than 50,000 jobs in Aus­tralia. The in­dus­try’s to­tal an­nual rev­enue is around $2 bil­lion. It is the lifeblood of many coastal com­mu­ni­ties from north­ern New South Wales to Far North Queens­land.

‘‘Be­fore crit­i­cis­ing sugar and de­mon­is­ing the in­dus­try, some of these in­stant ex­perts mak­ing sen­sa­tion­al­ist claims should give se­ri­ous thought to the po­ten­tial im­pact on hard-work­ing farm­ing fam­i­lies,’’ Se­na­tor Boswell said.

‘‘As a Se­na­tor for Queens­land – where sugar is the most sig­nif­i­cant agri­cul­tural crop – it is im­por­tant for me to rally against the hype and the sen­sa­tion­al­ism of these anti-sugar cru­saders.’’

Mean­while, the Aus­tralian Sugar In­dus­try Al­liance (ASA) says al­low­ing ex­cep­tions for one coun­try in the cur­rent trade ne­go­ti­a­tions could lead to the un­rav­el­ling of the agree­ment, as other par­ties pull their of­fers on sen­si­tive prod­ucts or their con­ces­sions on sen­si­tive prod­ucts.

ASA has called on ne­go­tia­tors for the Tran­sPa­cific Part­ner­ship (TPP) to cut agri­cul­tural tar­iffs across the board in the pro­posed trade pact, even on prod­ucts that some coun­tries would rather see ex­cluded.

The trade re­form talks con­tinue next week in Sin­ga­pore as the Trans Pa­cific Part­ner­ship (TPP), a pro­posed trade agree­ment in­volv­ing 12 na­tions, nears completion.

The Aus­tralian sugar in­dus­try is work­ing at full speed to counter calls by some coun­tries for sugar to be ex­cluded from the TPP.

‘‘If any one TPP mem­ber coun­try is al­lowed to claim ex­cep­tions for per­ceived sen­si­tive prod­ucts, then other TPP part­ners will in­evitably de­mand the right to do the same,’’ the sugar group says.

‘‘A strong TPP, with­out ex­clu­sions, will boost the sugar trad­ing re­la­tion­ship be­tween coun­tries,’’ says Paul Schem­bri, chair­man of ASA’s trade com­mit­tee. ‘‘A TPP which al­lows ex­clu­sions is weak and would limit op­por­tu­ni­ties in each of the mem­ber coun­tries to reach new mar­kets, grow busi­nesses,’’ he says.

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