Su­gar code in jeop­ardy

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - News -

CANEGROWERS urges Se­na­tors of all par­ties to speak up and reaf­firm their sup­port for pro­tec­tions for fam­ily farm­ers and main­tain the sta­bil­ity of a $2.5 bil­lion ex­port in­dus­try.

The Su­gar In­dus­try Code of Con­duct, launched in April this year, is in dan­ger of be­ing dis­al­lowed un­less a mo­tion in­tro­duced by NSW Se­na­tor David Ley­on­hjelm is with­drawn or voted down.

“We know there is wide sup­port for the Code in Par­lia­ment,” Canegrowers chair­man Paul Schem­bri said.

“It is a vi­tal safety net for our sug­ar­cane farm­ing mem­bers and must not be stripped away.

“The La­bor Party, Lib­er­als, Na­tion­als and Greens have al­ready ac­knowl­edged the need for a Code through their roles in a Se­nate Com­mit­tee in­ves­ti­ga­tion into ar­range­ments for the mar­ket­ing of Aus­tralian su­gar.

“It was the sole rec­om­men­da­tion in 2015 of the Ru­ral and Re­gional Af­fairs Com­mit­tee, chaired by WA ALP Se­na­tor Glenn Sterle, that a Code be de­vel­oped and im­ple­mented for the su­gar in­dus­try.

“We need all par­ties to re­in­force their sup­port and de­feat Se­na­tor Ley­on­hjelm’s mis­in­formed at­tempt to con­fuse the is­sue and put mis­guided ide­ol­ogy ahead of what is needed in the real world,” Mr Schem­bri said.

Dis­tance and the per­ish­able na­ture of cut cane means that grow­ers have no choice but to supply their lo­cal mill, giv­ing the mill owner a re­gional mo­nop­oly.

Re­quir­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions to be con­ducted in good faith with each party act­ing rea­son­ably, fairly and hon­estly with­out in­tim­i­da­tion, the Code pre­vents millers from abus­ing that mo­nop­oly power in supply con­tract ne­go­ti­a­tions with grow­ers and their col­lec­tives and pro­vides a mech­a­nism for ar­bi­tra­tion should there be a dead­lock.

“The Su­gar In­dus­try Code of Con­duct is some­thing the par­lia­ment has dealt with and re­solved through the Com­mit­tee sys­tem,” Mr Schem­bri said.

“The par­ties in­volved sup­ported the need for it and the Code was put in place in April 2017. We have moved on and are busy gen­er­at­ing wealth for the Aus­tralian econ­omy.

“We are about half-way through the 2017 sug­ar­cane har­vest which will see 32.5 mil­lion tonnes of cane cut and crushed into raw su­gar with 80% of it to be ex­ported.

“Canegrowers mem­bers have $11 bil­lion in­vested in this in­dus­try and our farms un­der­pin an ex­port prod­uct that se­cures the pros­per­ity of re­gional com­mu­ni­ties along 2,100 km of Aus­tralia’s east coast.

It is a vi­tal safety net for our sug­ar­cane farm­ing mem­bers and must not be stripped away... — Paul Schem­bri

PHOTO: FILE

WORRIES: The Su­gar In­dus­try Code of Con­duct, launched in April this year, is in dan­ger of be­ing dis­al­lowed un­less a mo­tion is with­drawn or voted down.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.