CANEGROWERS members in the four Queensland regions with Wilmar Sugar-owned mills are finally exercising their right to choose how their interest in the raw sugar made from their cane is priced and sold.
Crucially, the collective Cane Supply Agreements (CSAs) now being signed by growers in the Herbert River, Burdekin, Proserpine and Plane Creek districts also allow the 2017 harvest and crush to commence.
“The finalisation of these CSAs is a triumph for all members and their collective determination to choose their own path to business security,” CANEGROWERS Chairman Paul Schembri said.
This milestone draws a line under the 2014 bid by Wilmar to seize a monopoly in the provision of marketing services in the districts in which it operates – a move which would have denied growers access to the industry-owned marketer QSL.
“Our growers have had to stand firm in their resolve for choice,” Mr Schembri said.
“They have rallied and written letters, sent delegations to Brisbane and Canberra and stayed the course through countless hours of negotiations to ultimately see this process through to a successful end.”
The finalisation of the CSAs also proves that commercial agreements can be negotiated under the 2015 amendments to the Sugar Industry Act which guarantee choice and competition in sugar marketing services.
“In the face of negativity and pessimism, growers have remained positive and held a keen eye on a more stable future with competitive forces at play in the marketing of sugar,” Mr Schembri said.
“Growers can decide for themselves whether Wilmar Sugar or the industry-owned QSL, or in the future any other marketer that wants to operate in Queensland, offers the best option for their business.
“Competition fosters innovation and efficiency and both Wilmar and QSL are now working hard to convince our growers to select their marketing proposals.
“The industry can now move forward focussing on with what it does best – producing and selling quality raw sugar to the world.”
CANEGROWERS members should contact their local office for instructions on completing the CSA for their district.