CANEGROWERS welcomes with relief the announcement that the Federal Government has accepted the recommendation of a review which concluded the Sugar Code of Conduct should be retained.
“Since April 2017, this Code has helped to address the imbalance of power that exists when growers and milling companies sit at the negotiating table by laying out important guidelines for the conduct of negotiations,” CANEGROWERS Chairman Paul Schembri said.
“I thank every grower who participated in the review process and made sure the panel clearly understood how important the Code is for us.
“The distance between mills and the perishable nature of sugarcane once it is cut means growers cannot choose which milling company they supply with their crop and this puts mills in a powerful position.
“The Code sits as a safety net in the background of our industry, preventing mills from abusing their monopoly in any district.
“We thank the review panel and the Federal Government for understanding this reality in our industry.
“We note and thank also the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission for emphasising the importance of the Code just as we were grateful for the unanimous recommendation of the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee that a Code was required.
“No one in our industry should be fearful of this Code - it requires that each party acts reasonably, fairly and honestly without intimidation and provides for an arbitration mechanism if there’s a deadlock.”
Working in parallel with the Queensland Sugar Industry Act, the Code also supports competition in the provision of sugar marketing services.
“The Code’s mechanisms for stability and security underpin grower confidence to continue to invest, to get on with the business of producing high quality export sugar for the global market and drive their regional economies,” Mr Schembri said.
Pictured is Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud MP making the announcement on Chairman Paul Schembri's farm with CANEGROWERS Mackay Chairman Kevin Borg, Qld Shadow Agriculture Minister Tony Perrett and Dawson MP George Christensen