INTRANSIGENCE led to the sugar dispute between manufacturer Wilmar International and marketer Queensland Sugar Limited.
The meat-in-the sandwich, so to speak, were the sugarcane growers in the Burdekin, Herbert River and Proserpine districts.
When the Newman LNP government controlled Queensland, it drafted re-regulation of the industry that safeguarded the rights of the sugar grower to a choice of marketer.
Alternatively, when the Palaszczuk Labor government stumbled into power, it chose to side with Wilmar in a move that denied local sugar growers the right to choose their marketing agent, yet gave Wilmar an inside run to become sole marketer of the sugar is manufactured.
The Palaszczuk government obviously saw a chance to score political points, and Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne continually lambasted “the LNP’s ill-considered and poorly drafted re-regulation of the industry,”
To give credit where it is due, the decision by the Palaszczuk Government to approach Appeals Court Judge Richard Chesterman to mediate can be considered the straw that broke the camel’s back’ of the dispute. But that doesn’t extend to being the ‘master stroke’.
The important question is: Why did it have to happen at all? And would all the grower stress have been averted if the Newman government hadn’t legislated security for growers and the Palaszczuk government didn’t sense political opportunity and expedience.
Some growers suggest that perhaps Wilmar Chairman and CEO, Singaporean businessman Kuok Khoon Hong, may not be happy with the Queensland government. After all, he did grease the government’s hand, and in Asian countries, there are expectations attached.
Minister Bill Byrne this afternoon sent-out a long-winded media release praising the Queensland government’s approach. As said previously, the mediation solved the problem, but in the Minister’s political diatribe (an election is looming), he forgot to mention how pleased he was that canegrowers can now get on with what they do best — growing sugar cane, making a quid, and paying taxes.
Revise all cane supply agreements — Wilmar
THIS MORNING, the Executive General Manager – North Queensland – for Wilmar, John Pratt, advised growers that “the GEI Sugar Sales Agreement (GEISSA) has now been signed by Wilmar and QSL.
“All cane supply agreements (CSAs) must now be revised in order to ensure they are consistent with the terms of the GEISSA agreed with QSL.
“We will incorporate these required changes to the CSAs and continue our negotiations with grower bargaining representatives to finalise collective agreements.
“I will update you during the next week on progress with CSAs.
“In the meantime, if you have questions about pricing, pooling or payment arrangements with Wilmar for 2017, or you are looking for general information material on marketing, I suggest you go to GrowerWeb where we have fact sheets and links to helpful tools.”
Those preferring to talk to a member of one of our grower support teams, contact details are below.
For CSA Enquiries:
Paul Giordani: 0419 476 828; email@example.com
Dave Langham: 0417 694 615; firstname.lastname@example.org
Grower Pricing Team:
Townsville: James Greenwood: 0428 195 206; email@example.com
Herbert River: Chris Winship: 0437 669 118; firstname.lastname@example.org
Burdekin: John Carmody: 0438 176 335; : email@example.com
Proserpine and Plane Creek: Simon Haire: 0437 803 019; firstname.lastname@example.org
It was worth fighting for — QSL
SOON AFTER, Greg Beashel, QSL Managing Director and CEO, advised growers that “QSL and Wilmar today signed the long-awaited On- Supply Agreement (OSA) which delivers QSL Marketing Choice to Wilmar Growers.
“As we enter the new era of Marketing Choice for Wilmar Sugar Growers, I’d like to thank the many Growers who have steadfastly supported QSL during what has been a protracted and frustrating OSA negotiation process. We appreciate that this support has often come at great cost to you — both financially and emotionally — and that has not been lost on the QSL team, nor is it taken for granted.
We also appreciate that some Wilmar Sugar Growers keen to use QSL’s services in 2017 were unable to wait for the arrival of QSL Marketing Choice, and have instead undertaken pricing with Wilmar. We sincerely hope these Growers will consider using our services in the future. Should they wish to novate pricing to QSL, they should contact their miller as soon as possible to discuss the process involved. QSL will not charge a fee for this service, but other costs may be involved and deadlines apply.”
The Next Steps:
So, if you’re a Wilmar Sugar Grower, how do you now access the Marketing Choice you’ve fought so hard to get?
- You need to have a Grower Pricing Agreement (GPA) with QSL: These are now being issued to Wilmar Sugar Growers who have completed our Pre-Registration Form. If you have not already done so, please complete the pre-registration form available on the Wilmar Growers section of our website (www.qsl.com.au) or visit your local QSL office.
- You need to choose QSL as your marketer within your CSA: When completing the CSA process, Wilmar Sugar Growers will be asked to nominate a GEI Sugar Marketer and allocate a percentage of your production to that marketer. If you only want to use QSL for pricing services, you need to choose QSL as your GEI Sugar Marketer and allocate 100% to your GEI Sugar production to QSL within your CSA. Please see your local collective for details regarding your CSA arrangements.
An overview of the key steps to choosing QSL and accessing our new grower pricing portal, QSL Direct, are covered in the attached Fact Sheet. Your local QSL Grower Services Team is also available to provide support and information. Their contact details are:
Herbert River: 11 Lannercost Street, Ingham. Phone 0428 664 057.
Burdekin: Young Street, Ayr. Phone 0429 054 330.
Proserpine: 88 Main Street, Proserpine. Phone 0409 285 074
Plane Creek: 36 Broad Street, Sarina. Phone 0418 978 120
“Now that QSL has supply agreements in place with all Queensland Millers, we’re keen to refocus all our energies on what we do best — delivering strong returns to the industry we are committed to serve. I look forward to updating you on progress in this regard and showing just why QSL was worth fighting for.”
About time! says Canegrowers organisation
CANEGROWERS, the peak body for Queensland sugarcane farmers, has welcomed the news that signatures are now on a crucial sugar industry contract paving the way for members to supply Wilmar mills this season.
“After watching months of negotiation and even mediation, it is with relief that we acknowledge this On-Supply Agreement has been signed. It will guarantee our members a choice of either Wilmar or QSL as their raw sugar marketer,” CANEGROWERS CEO Dan Galligan said.
“This whole long saga was triggered in 2014 by Wilmar moving to take a monopoly marketing position, but through our members’ determination and persistence, and with political support, we are now seeing the final pieces of the puzzle falling into place and competition being guaranteed in the provision of sugar marketing services.”