Sighs of relief in cane paddocks as industry Code is secured
Sugarcane farmers organisation CANEGROWERS has thanked the Senate for voting down a misguided attempt to disallow the Sugar Industry Code of Conduct.
“By voting against Senator David Leyonhjelm’s disallowance motion, the majority of Senators have shown they support Australian farmers, their family businesses and regional communities,” CANEGROWERS Chairman Paul Schembri said.
“We thank the Senate for reaffirming the need for a Code to address the imbalance of power at the grower-miller negotiating table in our industry.
“Put simply, the Code ensures growers are not backed against a wall unfairly by regional milling monopolies because they have no choice over where their cane is processed.
“Senator Leyonhjelm sought to bring about profound industry change without any reference to growers and this unnecessary and futile episode has caused stress and uncertainty.
“We now look forward to going back to the business of growing quality sugarcane with the Code’s provisions in place to provide stability and security in our industry.”
The Code requires negotiations to be conducted in good faith with each party acting reasonably, fairly and honestly without intimidation. It also provides a mechanism for arbitration should there be a deadlock.
“Under the Code, growers have commercial fairness which gives us confidence to invest and for our communities to prosper,” Mr Schembri said.
The Sugar Industry Code of Conduct will go through a formal review process within 18 months.
“We note with disappointment that Labor Party Senators backed Senator Leyonhjelm’s disallowance motion,” Mr Schembri said.
“The review process next year is the proper opportunity to address any concerns about the Code and seek amendments, throwing it out today would’ve been a massive slap in the face to growers and to all workers and small businesses in many industries which operate under similar codes.”