THE sudden collapse of arbitration between Burdekin District Cane Growers Limited (BDCG) and Wilmar Sugar has provided further proof of the need for Federal intervention via a Mandatory Code of Conduct. What the industry needs is a rule book and I'm determined to provide it. The arbitration process, which has ended, came about as a result of amendments to the Queensland Sugar Industry Act which was pushed through State Parliament by the LNP and Katter’s Australia Party in 2015. While the Queensland Sugar Industry Act amendments were initially welcomed, the reality is that now they are near-useless, meaning federally something will have to be done.
I congratulate the Queensland LNP on taking decisive action to end the impasse over sugar marketing which is crippling the sugar industry in the north. My Federal colleagues and I are very supportive of this action from the State LNP because growers in the Burdekin, Proserpine,…
SUGAR industry representatives were given an ultimatum on marketing in Canberra today by the Minister for Industry and Science Ian Macfarlane. About 40 people from various sectors of the industry attended the meeting at Parliament House this morning organised by the Industry Minister. There was a very robust discussion with questioning and rebuttals, and all points of view were heard. However due to the impasse, the Minister has announced he will appoint an independent mediator to work with the industry on resolving this, and the industry now has 30 to 45 days to achieve that resolution.
THE Singapore Free Trade Agreement very clearly makes provision for measures such as a proposed Code of Conduct, or amendments to the state-legislated Sugar Act. I am outlining the relevant sections of the Singapore FTA in response to media claims that Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has urged Queensland Government representatives to vote against proposals by the Liberal National Party and Katter’s Australia Party to make changes to the Queensland Sugar Act. I can confirm that I have personally spoken with the Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop and received an assurance from her that she has never insinuated or inferred that a proposed sugar marketing code of conduct, nor any changes to the state-legislated Sugar Act, would breach any Free Trade Agreement or World Trade Organisation rules.