SUGAR millers say they are disappointed that a disallowance motion seeking to remove the Sugar Industry Code of Conduct had failed in the Australian Senate.
The Australian Sugar Milling Council (ASMC) said the Competition and Consumer (Industry Code – Sugar) Regulation 2017 was rushed in to effect on April 4 without any consultation and without a Regulatory Impact Statement.
It was claimed at the time that the new regulation was urgent to fix a ‘dispute’ in the Queensland sugar industry.
ASMC chief executive officer Dominic Nolan said that when the code was introduced the ‘dispute’ between QSL and a milling company had already been resolved commercially with agreement in principle over the marketing arrangements for raw sugar.
“We applaud Senator David Leyonhjelm for his efforts through the disallowance motion to highlight poor parliamentary process and political intervention that negatively impacts business and investment,” Mr Nolan said.
“We also acknowledge the support for the motion by Labor Senators and some of the cross bench, particularly their concern that the sugar industry has become a political pawn in Queensland.
“The Queensland sugar industry needs ongoing capital investment and re-investment to remain internationally competitive.
“While current mill owners purchased or invested significantly since the 2006 deregulation of the sugar industry, the uncertainty that arose initially as a result of the Queensland legislation, and now a new Federal regulation, has created real concern among the current Australian and international sugar mill owners.
“It makes the prospect of investment of capital by any new entrants extremely difficult, and the level of political interference sets a concerning precedent for all Australian agricultural businesses.”