CANEGROWERS is endorsing Cairns Region grower Stephen Calcagno in the Sugar Terminals Limited Board elections – the first time the organisation has taken the step of publicly backing a candidate.
A fourth-generation cane grower, Mr Calcagno has represented his fellow growers since 2004 and is currently the Chairman of CANEGROWERS Cairns Region. In 2019, he was elected to the QCGO Board where he has been heavily involved in negotiations and policy-making on some of the toughest challenges facing the industry.
"I've got a great belief in the industry and I'm committed to it. I know there's a lot of uncertainty around at the minute, but I really see a bright future for this industry and I just want to make sure that we make the best decisions possible for growers at all levels" Mr Calcagno said.
"I firmly believe a strong grower voice and focus should exist at the very top of all sugar industry bodies to ensure the interests of cane farmers are considered in any decision-making process.”
As the sugar industry’s bulk terminal owner, STL plays an important role in maintaining Australia's reputation as a reliable supplier and exporter of raw sugar to the world market, Mr Calcagno said.
"That is our strength in the global market, so maintaining that capacity and reputation for the benefit of the whole industry must be the number one priority for the STL board.
"We must never lose sight of the fact our ports, the timeliness of delivery and our reputation for reliability are some of our biggest selling points on the global market, and ensuring we maintain this goes hand-in-hand with having a successful company that can also return a dividend to shareholders."
Mr Calcagno also believes that growers have a unique viewpoint on many issues and said it's important these views are heard, just as the STL Board structure allows for, and that growers voices are not drowned out by other industry players.
"Grower views on certain issues might not always align with the views of other STL directors, whether they be from the milling sector or independent directors, but it's important that all views are clearly articulated and considered by the board to ensure the right decisions are made for the company and the industry as a whole."
In a show of confidence, the Queensland CANEGROWERS board voted last month to endorse Mr Calcagno's bid for the STL board position.
"We've had CANEGROWERS members and even board directors in the past that have taken up positions on the STL board and worked very hard to represent the interests of growers," CANEGROWERS Chairman Paul Schembri said.
"But this is the first time the CANEGROWERS board has officially endorsed a candidate. That's not just a sign of the confidence we have in Stephen to represent the best interests of growers, but also a desire to ensure we have a candidate that is strong and dedicated to growers, yet open minded and forward-thinking enough to work with other board members for the benefit of the whole industry and the company.
"I would encourage all STL grower shareholders to use their vote to ensure we have a strong grower voice in the management of our bulk sugar terminals and the best way to do that, is to vote for Stephen Calcagno," Mr Schembri said.
Grower shareholders can vote in person or by proxy at the Sugar Terminals Limited AGM on 21 October.
Click here to download infomation on how to vote.