Grower choice the answer to sugar industry impasse

qsl24 June 2014

Grower choice is both a solution to the Wilmar-grower impasse and a viable option for the entire Queensland sugar industry that will encourage increased competition and deliver the fairest
outcome for both growers and millers alike, Queensland Sugar Limited CEO, Greg Beashel, said today.

Speaking after an industry meeting held today with the Queensland Minister for Agriculture, John McVeigh, Mr Beashel said providing growers with a choice of marketer would provide the fairest outcome for all while creating stability and transparency for the entire industry.

“Competition is important to drive innovation and the best price outcomes. Providing a transparent and stable system for competition in marketing of grower economic interest sugar that allows pricing outcomes to be fairly compared is the best option,” Mr Beashel said.

Mr Beashel praised the Minister for taking an active role in bringing all parties to the negotiating table to discuss the details of a grower choice model and said QSL welcomed further industry meetings.

“QSL is owned by the industry – millers and growers – and therefore has the best interests of both at its core,” Mr Beashel said.

“We believe that providing growers with a choice in who markets their sugar, would be the most competitive model for the entire Queensland sugar industry. While grower choice would represent change for growers, it would simply mean greater choice of marketing options than was currently available.”

Mr Beashel said grower organisations were unified in their support of the concept of having choice about who markets their sugar and the next step would be to work with industry to agree on the specific details.

“QSL sees that grower choice could operate in a similar way to how miller economic interest currently works where millers have the option to sell their one-third economic interest sugar or have QSL sell it on their behalf,” Mr Beashel said.

“For those millers who didn’t want to compete to market grower economic interest sugar, and their growers, there would be little change from the current arrangements.”

Mr Beashel said grower choice would be highly achievable and could be implemented if Wilmar retracts its notice to QSL and the rest of the industry agreed to the change.

“We are committed to working with the Government, growers and millers to develop a model that will work fairly in each group’s favour and encourage competition.”

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