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Legislation ensures competition to sugar marketing

Sugarcane farmers are surprised that legislation which has opened up sugar marketing services to increased competition has been described as re-regulation.

The amendments to the Sugar Industry Act were passed by a majority of the MPs in the Queensland Parliament in December 2015 in response to farmer anger at being forced into mill-owned sugar marketing monopolies from the 2017 season.

“This legislation is pro-competition,” CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan said. “It ensures growers will have a choice when determining the marketing path for the sugar in which they have a clear and recognised economic interest.

“In a wide ranging report that made recommendations on removing regulations on vegetation management, heavy vehicle movements, pesticides registration and animal welfare, the Productivity Commission has also suggested that a monopoly marketing situation for Australian sugar would somehow be preferable to opening up a market to further competition and the efficiencies and benefits that will flow from that to all sectors of the industry.”

Negotiations around new Cane Supply Agreements between growers and millers for the 2017 season are continuing in a number of districts.

"Six months on from the legislation being passed the growers, milling and marketing companies are working on agreements which implement this new competitive marketing environment,” Mr Galligan said. “Some companies have moved more quickly and adapted better than others.

“A competitive market will ensure farmers can make pricing and marketing choices which give their businesses, and regional Queensland economies, the best opportunity to prosper.”

The draft Productivity Commission report is now open to submissions and CANEGROWERS will be explaining the pro-competition effect of the recent Queensland sugar marketing legislation amendments.

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