The long-running dispute between miller Wilmar and marketer QSL appears to be over, after a second round of mediation.
Four weeks out from the start of the 2017 crush in some Wilmar growing areas, both entities issued statements late this afternoon announcing agreement had been reached on “the issue of concern”.
The pair have been at loggerheads since 2014 over an on-supply agreement (OSA).
Greg Beashel, QSL Managing Director and chief executive officer, said a resolution had been negotiated that addressed concerns and enabled advances payment arrangements for Wilmar growers and the sales program for their GEI Sugar to proceed “without change”.
“QSL and Wilmar’s legal teams will now work across the weekend to draw up the appropriate changes to the OSA,” Mr Beashel said.
“This remains our highest business priority and while we have been very frustrated by the slow pace of negotiations up to this point, we are cautiously optimistic that we will be able to finalise and sign the contract next week.
“In tandem with this work, QSL will continue the rollout of its new Grower Pricing Agreement (GPA), which is the new contract with QSL that is necessary for any Wilmar grower who wishes to access our marketing and pricing services.”
John Pratt, Wilmar executive general manager North Queensland, said the arrangements satisfied the commercial objectives of both parties and provided cane payments based on CCS relative in the same manner as the 2016 season cane supply agreements (CSA).
”Once the GEISSA is signed, QSL will be offered as a GEI Marketer to growers with a Wilmar CSA,” Mr Pratt said.
“We understand this addresses the key outstanding concern of grower organisations in finalising 2017-19 CSAs.
“Our focus is now on revising existing CSAs to ensure consistency with the GEISSA, and finalising collective agreements that have been in negotiation.
“This has been a challenging and frustrating chapter for all parties in our re-regulated industry.
“Legal and commercial relationships have been reshaped and with that, our various responsibilities and risks have changed.”