Mackay Sugar Limited won’t be able to charge cane grower Rex Stroppiana the $2 per tonne levy because of a Supreme Court decision that could put the miller’s refinancing plans in doubt.
However, Mackay Sugar will be allowed to charge the fee to other growers who challenged the levy, Simon Mattson and Colin Ash.
That’s because their bargaining agents Canegrowers and Australian Cane Farmers Association agreed to the levy back in August.
But because Mr Stroppiana, along with dozens of others, wasn’t a member of those bargaining agents Justice David Jackson found that without his consent he wouldn’t have to pay the levy.
The decision handed down by Justice David Jackson puts Mackay Sugar’s refinancing plans in doubt as about 15% of its 878 growers aren’t represented by bargaining agents.
“Following the decision as it applies to Mr Stroppiana, the Board will re-evaluate the way forward for the company,” Mackay Sugar chairman Andrew Cappello said.
“Mackay Sugar is considering the judgment in favour of Mr Stroppiana with a view to determining whether an appeal is appropriate,” Mackay Sugar chairman Andrew Cappello said.
The $2 tonne levy was proposed by Mackay Sugar as part of a plan to pay down its $212million debt and to pay for maintenance of its mills.