Boswell steps up for sugar industry
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.