MEDIA RELEASE – Sugar Code of Conduct Stays

Media Release – The Hon. David Littleproud MP
Sugar Code of Conduct Stays

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud
Member for Dawson, George Christensen
Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry
Member for Flynn, Ken O’Dowd
12 December 2018
• The government has released response to review of the Sugar Code of Conduct.
• The code will be retained to provide certainty for the sugar industry.
• The review included 60 written submissions, in addition to face-to-face meetings.
The Sugar Code of Conduct will be extended a further four years to provide certainty for the Australian sugar industry.
Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud today joined Member for Dawson George Christensen to make the announcement following the extensive review, which included sixty written submissions.
“The code came about to give sugar cane growers, millers and marketers certainty to just get on with the job and I’m happy to say it’s here to stay,” Mr Christensen said.
“Queensland is the powerhouse of the Australian sugar industry and produces 95 per cent of all sugar. If the sugar industry is strong Queensland is strong.
“I want to thank the Queensland LNP for their assistance in protecting the interests of cane growers.”
Minister Littleproud said the government held public consultations across key sugar growing regions in Queensland and Northern NSW.
Minister Littleproud said he brought forward the review, which was due to commence in October 2018, to July this year following the industry’s requests for certainty.
“This now provides certainty,” Mr Littleproud said.
“Public consultations were held in Gordonvale, Innisfail, Ingham, Ayr, Mackay, Bundaberg and Broadwater and with key stakeholders to make sure a range of views were heard.
“I acknowledge the sugar industry’s recent efforts in improving cooperation. I look forward to industry continuing to work together on the recommendation to develop a strategy to address the shared future challenges facing the industry.”
Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry welcomed the move to keep the code in place.
“This will be welcome news in Mackay, where 47 percent of the region is devoted to growing sugar cane, contributing over $460 million to the economy,” Ms Landry said.
Member for Flynn Ken O’Dowd said this was welcome news for one of the key pillars of agriculture across rural and regional Queensland.
“Australia is the third largest sugar exporter in the world and we must remain strong and viable,” Mr O’Dowd said.
Fast Facts:
• The review included sixty written submissions and face to face meetings with key stakeholders.
• The code sets out a strict process for pre-contract arbitration when growers, millers or marketers fail to agree to terms of contracts or agreements with each other.
• The code will be amended to make it clear that pre-contractual arbitration only applies to raw sugar and not to any other products from sugar cane.
• This code is secure and any changes to it in the future will be subject to a disallowance process. Any attempts to repeal it would be subject to parliamentary oversight.
• The provision that allows growers to choose their marketer will remain.
• A further review of the code will be undertaken in four years’ time to assess whether the code is still needed.
• The review will consider recommendations made by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in regards to penalties and investigative powers at the next review to determine if further ACCC involvement is needed.

Members can take some comfort in knowing industry stakeholders have secured The Sugar Code Of Conduct for a further period of four years subject to a further review at that time. Code will continue to provide growers with of choice of marketer for their GEI sugar as well as an arbitration process should grower/miller/marketer be unable to come to commercial terms .

Les Elphinstone
Manager KCGO