News and Views

Breakthrough agreements clear final hurdle to grower choice

Canegrowers members supplying MSF Sugar mills are the first in Queensland to be guaranteed choice in sugar marketing with two crucial agreements now signed, sealed and delivered.

A sugar sales agreement between MSF Sugar and QSL, the industry marketer and manager of the state’s six bulk sugar terminals, has been ratified.

It is the final piece of a new structure for MSF Sugar and growers who reached the historic first new Cane Supply Agreements (CSAs) in May under the Sugar Industry (Real Choice in Marketing) Amendment Bill 2015 that sparked fierce debate.

“This is a ground-breaking step for Queensland’s second most valuable agricultural export industry,”
Canegrowers Chairman Paul Schembri said.

“It proves that the legislation passed by the Queensland Parliament in December 2015 is both workable and practical when approached with the right attitude.

“A lot of dire predictions were made during the debate on sugar marketing but, far from putting jobs in peril or stifling investment, the legislation has allowed MSF Sugar and growers to get on with business and invest with confidence.

“MSF Sugar has committed tens of millions of dollars to new green fuel plants in Queensland. The company is also investing in programs to assist growers with their productivity, profitability and sustainability and has put its own farms through the accreditation process for Smartcane BMP, the industry’s best practice program which will prove our environmental credentials to sugar customers around the world.”

The final step for grower choice in sugar marketing was the necessary ratification this week of a practical and sound On-Supply Agreement between MSF Sugar and QSL by three of QSL’s milling shareholders, Bundaberg, Isis and Mackay.

Mr Schembri said that meant growers in the Maryborough, Cairns and Tableland districts who have signed new Cane Supply Agreements with MSF Sugar could now choose between a sugar marketing pathway offered by the miller and one offered by QSL.

“Importantly, growers in those districts can now secure pricing for 2017 with a marketer of their choice,” he said. “It is a sweet step forward in the campaign we have waged against plans which would have forced growers supplying three of the biggest milling companies down a single, mill-owned marketing pathway.

“Canegrowers welcomes the confidence MSF Sugar is showing in our industry’s long term future.

“We now urge Wilmar Sugar and Tully Sugar to look closely at these landmark agreements. They prove that the legislation is workable and that commercial solutions can be found that benefit all sectors in the industry.

“The time for delays and frustrations is over – all of our members have the right to marketing choice and to face the future, and the 2017 season, with contracts in place.”