Hopes pinned on sugar contract ultimatum

Peak sugarcane farming group Canegrowers is urging Wilmar Sugar and Qld Sugar Limited (QSL) to commit to negotiate their way past their impasse on a crucial sugar marketing contract.

“We need them to reach an On-Supply Agreement (OSA) so our growers can finalise Cane Supply Agreements (CSA) with the miller for the 2017 season,” Canegrowers Chairman Paul Schembri said.

“But time is running out – the season will start in around 16 weeks and 1,500 farmers are in limbo with the economic future of their businesses at risk.”

The Queensland LNP stood up for growers and gave Wilmar and QSL 48 hours to commit to finalising the OSA before 28 February 2017 or it would introduce further amendments to the Queensland Sugar Industry Act.

“This Act had to be amended in December 2015 to prevent millers from creating regional sugar marketing monopolies, to secure choice for growers and competition in the provision of marketing services,” Mr Schembri said.

“Since then, six of the seven sugar milling companies operating in Queensland have negotiated commercial agreements with growers and QSL which allow the 2017 season to proceed.

“Only Wilmar has been unable to do this.

“Frustration and anxiety levels are sky high in the four cane growing regions where Wilmar owns mills but our growers are determined to stand together.

“They want nothing less than a CSA which guarantees the marketing choice they are entitled to under the legislation.”

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