Sugar industry investigation moves ahead

12 August 2014 
Hon. Dr John McVeigh MP

Representatives from across the sugar industry will soon be invited to have their say on the sector’s marketing and competition challenges following the approval of a State Government investigation.

Agriculture Minister John McVeigh said the terms of reference for the Agricultural Cabinet Committee inquiry had been set and that it would begin work shortly.

“There will be hearings over the coming months and my department will soon be contacting the parties concerned regarding the arrangements, including their hearing date,” Mr McVeigh said.

“The recent decision by foreign-owned millers Wilmar, MSF and Tully to market their own sugar goes against long-held grower preferences for Queensland Sugar Ltd to market locally-produced sugar.

“I want to ensure the industry has input into this investigation, enabling the government to consider what is best for the whole industry.”

The current arrangements with Queensland Sugar Ltd will remain until the end of the 2016 season.

The Australian Sugar Milling Council and its members, CANEGROWERS, ACFA and the Burdekin District Canegrowers Association, will be invited to address the inquiry.

Mr McVeigh said he was also seeking to enlist the support of the Federal Government and was urging it to pursue the matter under the Federal Competition and Consumer Act.

“I have written to Treasurer Joe Hockey calling on him to formally consider powers under the Federal Competition and Consumer Act in relation to the millers’ decision to ditch long-standing marketing arrangements within the industry.

“Canberra may be able to help in ensuring that growers can retain choice when it comes to the marketing of sugar,” he said.

“Whilst we are conducting our own investigations and calling upon the Federal Government to do the same, I am continuing to call on all sectors of the industry to show stronger leadership and pursue commercial solutions to the impasse.

“It’s my job to work with industry to find the best path forward for all sectors, but the State Government can’t do that on its own.”

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