ACCC backs grower role in progressing sugar marketing talks

ACCC backs grower role in progressing sugar marketing talks
January 27 2017


ACCC backs grower role in progressing sugar marketing talks

CANEGROWERS invites Wilmar Sugar and Qld Sugar Limited (QSL) to a three-way meeting in the first week of February to move sugar marketing negotiations past their current impasse

A Draft Determination from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) concludes that CANEGROWERS can have a constructive role to play as the parties attempt to reach an On-Supply Agreement (OSA).

“This OSA is crucial to our growers’ Cane Supply Agreements (CSA) with Wilmar for the 2017 season,” CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan said. “With harvesters set to fire up again within 20 weeks, it is time for us to step in and this Draft Determination from Australia’s competition watchdog shows we have a legitimate role to play.”

CANEGROWERS went to the ACCC after suggestions from milling companies that any proposed participation by the grower organisation in OSA discussions would contravene Australia’s competition laws.

“We are pleased to say that the ACCC Draft Determination has clarified the situation around grower involvement in these discussions,” Mr Galligan said. “We look forward to it being quickly finalised.”

On page 42 of the Draft Determination A91558, the ACCC says:

Given the voluntary nature of the proposed collective bargaining arrangements the ACCC considers that, to the extent parties within the sugar industry consider a tripartite approach to negotiating On-Supply Agreements could lead to mutually beneficial outcomes, any such negotiations are unlikely to result in public detriment.

“CANEGROWERS is keen to progress round-table talks to try to resolve the remaining differences between Wilmar Sugar and QSL as quickly as possible,” Mr Galligan said.

“The OSA is a key piece of the new, modern, competitive sugar marketing landscape in Queensland and it is important to growers that it is finalised soon so their CSAs can also be ready for the 2017 season.

“As we have twice already, we are inviting both parties to sit with grower leaders from the four Wilmar Sugar milling districts to work towards a negotiated, commercial, industry outcome.”

The ACCC Draft Determination is available from the ACCC’s Public Registers: