4 September 2014
Australian Cane Farmers Association (ACFA) has welcomed the announcement made by the Federal Government outlining their plans to investigate competition concerns in the sugar industry.
The matter is to be referred to the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee for inquiry, as moved by Senator Barry O’Sullivan earlier today, with the inquiry report due by 27 November 2014.
The developments follow the announcement by three large sugar traders/millers earlier this year of their resignation from Queensland Sugar Limited (QSL), due to take effect at the end of 2016.
ACFA Chairman, Don Murday, said that the deregulation of the Queensland sugar industry during the past decade has resulted in the market power of sugar millers eroding farmers’ position.
“There is a market imbalance in the industry, skewed against growers and eroding competition,” Mr. Murday said.
“With farmers exposed to world sugar prices, they rely on full price transparency and the ability to have a say over the marketing and pricing of their product, which, under long-term industry convention, they have a share.
“Cane farmers mostly supply regional monopoly millers and when they are unfairly treated can only turn to Government to insist on fair play.
“Australian competition legislation needs reinforcing in order to prevent small sellers of agricultural products from being held captive by processors. This matter affects many agricultural producers in various industries who look to Government to restore a commercial balance.
“ACFA is fully committed to assisting in the inquiry and look forward to the opportunity to do so,” Mr. Murday concluded.
Don Murday- ACFA Chairman- 0418 774 499
Amanda Sheppard- Communications- (07) 3839 1900 or 0429 459 497