Hinchinbrook MP, Andrew Cripps, says the Palaszczuk Government and Wilmar Sugar were now alone in their bitter struggle against the sugar marketing legislation agreed to by the Queensland Parliament in December 2015 and he called on both to end their opposition.
Mr Cripps said following the announcement that COFCO’s Tully Sugar had signed a cane supply agreement with Tully Canegrowers, Labor and Wilmar were the last and final parties to accept that the changes to the legislation were not impeding the Queensland sugar industry.
“This follows an agreement earlier this year between Canegrowers and MSF to supply cane to several mills across Queensland in 2017, including the South Johnstone Mill in the Hinchinbrook electorate and I welcome both of these negotiated outcomes” said Mr Cripps.
“This leaves Wilmar as the only company unable to reach an agreement with sugar cane growers to supply their mills for the 2017 season, despite all other milling companies in Queensland being able to reach an agreement under the Sugar Industry Act” he said.
“Clearly, recent statements by Agriculture Minister, Bill Byrne, ranting and raving about the amendments supposedly damaging the Queensland sugar industry are clearly unfounded and unsubstantiated, because the negotiated outcomes have been achieved”.
“Despite Bill Byrne’s petulant and repetitive scaremongering, the amendments to the legislation have delivered the choice in marketing to growers that was desired and now, all but one milling company has been able to secure supply agreements with their growers”.
“Wilmar needs to reflect on the fact that all other milling companies in Queensland have been able to negotiate a supply agreement with their growers and ask themselves why their only ally is a recycled Labor Agriculture Minister who likes the sound of his own rhetoric”.
“The Palaszczuk Government’s track record of understanding Queensland’s agriculture sector is abysmal and Labor’s inability to comprehend the need to deliver choice in sugar marketing to growers is another example of just how out-of-touch with the regions they are”.
Mr Cripps said in contrast, the LNP had consulted widely with all stakeholders before steering amendments to the Sugar Industry Act through the Queensland Parliament that recognised and formalised long standing arrangements within the sugar industry.