State Election 2015

Click here to download CANEGROWERS key sugar priorities for the 2015 State Election

CANEGROWERS is calling on all parties to take action-oriented policies to the state election.

 

To grow the State’s second largest export commodity sugarcane and strengthen regional Queensland, farmers need political parties to commit to proactive policies in five key areas:

 

THE BIG 5 FOR SUGARCANE

 

1. Addressing the commercial imbalance in marketing

CURRENT SITUATION

  • Three sugar milling groups have announced they will be withdrawing from the industry owned export marketing company, QSL.
  • The decision threatens the future of QSL. The mills are denying growers the right to choose how their Grower Economic Interest sugar is sold. This will impact on all cane growers, both those supplying mills owned by the three milling groups exiting and the other mills.
  • The alternative structures proposed by the milling companies are anti-competitive, lack transparency and expose growers to transfer pricing and other forms of market failure. The mill proposals undermine grower confidence to invest in and expand Queensland’s $2 billion sugarcane industry.
     

 ACTION NEEDED
  1. Amend the Sugar Industry Act to formally recognise the economic interest in the sugar held by growers and millers and formalise the inherent right of each party to determine how this share is marketed.

(This is not a return to regulation, but a pro-competition amendment which restores the protection for growers against regional millers exerting their monopoly powers whilst increasing competition in the market and restoring confidence to invest in Queensland’s second largest export commodity).
 

 

2. Reducing unaffordable electricity costs

CURRENT SITUATION

  • High prices are threatening the viability of irrigated agriculture in Queensland.
  • Ergon and Energex are delivering record profits to the Queensland Government at the expense of irrigators and other consumers.
  • Ergon’s current suite of network tariffs does not reflect the low cost of supplying electricity to irrigators.
  • Reform of the energy market is too slow. The delay is costing Queenslanders millions in higher electricity prices every year.
  • A process to identify on-farm energy efficiency is underway and has the potential to delivery large gains in energy efficiency.
     

 ACTION NEEDED
  1. An immediate reduction in power prices for regional Queensland by a third.
  2. Commit to urgent process of structural and pricing reform that balances network needs with those of consumers.
  3. Introduce a food and fibre tariff specifically for irrigation, giving irrigators another option from which to select the right tariff for their circumstances.
  4. Introduce retail competition to regional Queensland.
  5. Write down the regulated asset base to take out solar costs, as well as assets that are not used or useful.
  6. Immediately reduce Ergon’s weighted cost of capital to better reflect today’s interest rates.
  7. Ensure networks are responsible for the decisions they make and not pass on the cost of their failures on to customers.
     

 

3. Support for industry-driven environmental programs

CURRENT SITUATION

  • There is industry support and grower commitment to the Smartcane BMP program which underpins production, profitability and water quality for the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Regulatory reforms have resulted in costshifting to farmers and continued regulatory overlap and duplication of obligations in many areas of environmental regulation.
  • The impost of regulatory obligations on farmers is dampening investment confidence holding back industry expansion.
     

 ACTION NEEDED
  1. Invest in and support the development of a Sugarcane BMP framework by CANEGROWERS.
  2. Redirect reef regulation funding to incentivise adoption of innovative farming practices.

 

4. Fix unworkable transport rules

CURRENT SITUATION

  • The current state of transport regulations for oversize agricultural vehicles is untenable and impractical and effectively denies growers legal and economic access to the full road network and creates unnecessary risk.
     

 ACTION NEEDED
  1. Provide an efficient permit system with practical conditions which allows for workable access to roads for oversize agricultural vehicles and maintains public safety.
     

 

5. Backing robust industry research

CURRENT SITUATION

  • The Queensland Government provides $4.05 million funding for research to Sugar Research Australia (SRA).
  • The value of the funding is being maximised by aligning it with the industry’s research priorities, industry extension and the Smartcane BMP.
  • Increasing funding will boost industry productivity, profitability and environmental stewardship.
     

 ACTION NEEDED
  1. Commit to increase the state government’s funding to research and development from $4.05 million to $4.50 million annually and maintain this level of
    funding (in real terms) into future years.
  2. Continue the commitment of aligning and coordination of government R&D with SRA and industry priorities.
     

 

 

 

CANEGROWERS is the peak representative body for Australian sugarcane growers.
We have been advancing and protecting the interests of cane farming families in Queensland since 1926. CANEGROWERS ensures that growers’ needs are represented at the highest possible levels of industry and government decision-making. We safeguard growers’ interests on all issues likely to affect their business.

 

Big Industry - Big Value

  • World’s third largest exporter of sugar (80% of Australian sugar is exported)
  • $2 billion value to the Queensland economy (to the annual Gross State Product)
  • Second largest agricultural commodity in Queensland
  • 15,600 jobs directly, and 70,200 indirectly, accounting for 15% of employees in coastal Queensland
    $7 billion in land and $4 billion in infrastructure assets controlled by the industry

 

Click here if you wish to go back and look at CANEGROWERS 2012 Queensland Government State Election Advocacy Campaign