‘Feds must deliver sugar code of conduct’

FOLLOW THROUGH: The Federal Government must immediately implement a sugar industry code of conduct says North Queensland MP Andrew Cripps.THERE are calls federal government to immediately implement the recommendation of the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs Committeesupporting the development of a sugar industry code of conduct.
Nanjing Night Net

Hinchinbrook MPAndrew Crippssaid 18 months after the senate committee handed down its report, the federal government had not progressed the development of a sugar industry code of conduct, despite the committee recommendation being unanimously supported by senators from all parties.

“The Queensland Parliament has done its job, with LNP and crossbench MPs amending theSugar Industry Actto provide growers choice in marketing and recognising grower economic interest,”Mr Cripps said.

“It’s time for the federal government to pull its weight with a code of conduct.”

Peak farm body CANEGROWERS said the fastest way to resolve the current deadlock in negotiations towards contracts for the 2017 season was to continue work towards a negotiated outcome that complies with the Queensland Sugar Industry Act.

To that end, it has invited both Wilmar Sugar and QSL to a three-way meeting with grower representatives.

However, as negotiations are at animpasse, progress towards the development of a code of conduct may have a role to play in the industry both now and into the future.

CANEGROWERS says it supports further work towards the development of a code of conduct to avoid a repeat of the current strain growers have been put under.

Mr Cripps said with less than six months before the start of the 2017 cane harvesting season, it wasunacceptable for Wilmar and growers supplying their mills between Ingham and Mackay not to have a cane supply agreement in place.

“The dispute must be resolved,” Mr Cripps said.

“There is nothing wrong with the Queensland legislation because every other milling company has already been able to reach an agreement with growers supplying their mills. Therefore the problem must be between the parties involved in the negotiations in the Wilmar mill areas.

“There is too much at stake for the Queensland sugar industry to allow this uncertainty to continue. The failure of the parties to negotiate a supply agreement means it is now clear this process needs to be guided by a formal code of conduct. They have brought this on themselves.

“There is a draft code of conduct which was prepared by a federal taskforce in 2015 and the senate committee has suggested it may provide a foundation upon which a statutory code of conduct could be established, so the federal government could move quickly on this.

“The absence of an agreement between Wilmar and cane growers has serious ramifications for the local communities involved – such as the Herbert River district in the Hinchinbrook electorate – from mill employees to harvester contractors and many others servicing the industry.”

​CLICK HERE to read the senate committee recommendations.

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