Hinchinbrook MP, Andrew Cripps, says the LNP is honouring its election commitment to try and find a fair and reasonable solution to the ongoing dispute between growers and millers concerning the future of sugar marketing arrangements in Queensland.
Mr Cripps congratulated Shadow Agriculture Minister, Deb Frecklington – who yesterday released an exposure draft of the LNP’s Sugar Industry (Facilitating Grower Choice) Amendment Bill 2015 for public consultation – for her hard work on a difficult issue.
“As the Shadow Agriculture Minister, Deb has consulted with growers and millers and diligently worked through the issues to come with a draft bill that we believe will result in a fair and reasonable outcome for this important Queensland industry” said Mr Cripps.
“The LNP recognises the value of the sugar industry to the state’s economy and we have taken the time necessary to consider the issues and present a proposed way forward that we hope provides certainty and security for all concerned” he said.
Mr Cripps said the development of the LNP’s exposure draft had benefited from the evidence presented by both millers and growers to the recent Senate Inquiry and the work of the Sugar Industry Taskforce which had produced a draft Code of Conduct.
“In contrast, next month the Queensland Parliament’s Agriculture and Environment Committee will deliver its report on a Katter Party Bill which had been rushed into the house earlier this year – with evidence to this point suggesting that it has significant flaws.
“Meanwhile, the Palaszczuk Labor Government has made it quite clear that it is not interested in the sugar industry at all and is busy getting ready to impose more significant environmental regulations on farmers that will increase costs and cut productivity”.
“The key elements of the LNP’s bill is that it seeks to formally recognise grower economic interest and provide growers with an opportunity to choose who markets their sugar through the Cane Supply agreement, a document familiar to all industry stakeholders”.
Mr Cripps said the draft Sugar Industry (Facilitating Grower Choice) Amendment Bill 2015 could be found at www.debfrecklington.com.au and feedback can be provided to the Nanango Electorate Office via email firstname.lastname@example.org, by 4th September 2015.