CANEGROWERS is calling on Sugar Terminals Limited (STL) to let grower shareholders have their say on the company’s controversial decision to insource terminal operations and sever a longstanding and successful relationship with Queensland Sugar Limited (QSL).
STL is expected to announce a date for its 2023 Annual General Meeting in the coming weeks and CANEGROWERS Chairman Owen Menkens is urging the company to hold that meeting in a cane growing district.
“Every year STL holds its AGM at a high-end corporate office in the Brisbane CBD, far away from the scrutiny of its actual shareholders, the sugarcane growers and millers of Queensland,” Mr Menkens said.
“In past years that was not an issue. The terminals, which are some of the industry’s most important shared assets, have been successfully operated by QSL.
“Previously, grower shareholders have had few concerns about the continued successful operation of terminals on behalf of the industry and felt little need to attend STL’s AGMs.
“However, that is no longer the case, following STL’s announcement earlier this year that it planned to sever ties with QSL and take charge of terminal operations itself despite terminal operations being something the company has no experience in.
“It’s a crossroads for the industry, and to hold their AGM squirreled away in some Brisbane office, instead of going out to the districts and fronting up before shareholders would be an act of cowardice on the part of the STL board.
“No matter which way you look at this strategy, growers want honesty and transparency from these board directors, and as shareholders, essentially the owners of STL, they are entitled to it.
“They want to be able to look board directors in the eye and ask them questions on a matter that could well have serious implications for the industry and in turn, their livelihoods.”
Mr Menkens said there were plenty of suitable venues to hold the AGM across Queensland’s cane growing regions. He even offered to host a sausage sizzle for attendees to keep the costs as low as possible for STL.
“There are plenty of suitable halls and meeting facilities in Bundaberg, Mackay, Townsville, Ingham, Cairns, whether it be in CANEGROWERS offices or elsewhere. They could even host it at the Australian Sugar Heritage Centre in Mourilyan if they wanted,” Mr Menkens said.
“CANEGROWERS will even put on a sausage sizzle for growers and any other shareholders who attend.
“CANEGROWERS is urging STL to take this opportunity to let growers have their say and we’re here to help facilitate that meeting in any way we can.”