​​Media Release

Supporting our cane growers

10 December 2014​

The Australian Government is today establishing a new sugar marketing taskforce to look into competition and marketing issues facing the cane sector.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, has today unveiled the terms of reference of a government-initiated Sugar Marketing Code of Conduct Taskforce to consult with the sugar industry on a range of issues around marketing and export arrangements for cane growers. The taskforce will be chaired by the Member for Dawson, George Christensen.

The Government is aware of the significant concern and future uncertainty that now exists amongst cane growers following the announcement by three major sugar mill owners to break away from the QSL pooling system from the 2017 season.

The Taskforce will consider issues such as the growers’ economic interest in the commodity, grower ability to choose marketing entities, transparency of marketing activities, as well as the need for a code of conduct, among other issues impacting on growers.

George Christensen has been absolutely pivotal in getting the Taskforce established and has worked closely with me and our parliamentary colleagues to represent cane growers and get to this point – I thank him for the work he has done and the constructive way in which he has worked.

The Taskforce will be made up of Senators and Members from Queensland and New South Wales who have an interest in the sugar industry and will report to the Minister for Agriculture by May, 2015.

The full terms of reference are below.

Terms of Reference – Sugar Marketing Code of Conduct Taskforce

The Sugar Marketing Code of Conduct Taskforce is formed in response to grower concerns regarding changes to sugar marketing arrangements in Australia and is to report to the Minister for Agriculture by May, 2015.

The Taskforce is to:

  1. Determine if a code of conduct for the sugar marketing process is needed;
  2. Determine if such a code should be mandatory;
  3. Consult with the sugar industry; and
  4. Consider provisions in such​ a code of conduct to address issues including, but not limited to, the following: 
    • Negotiation process;
    • Grower economic interest sugar;
    • Ability to choose a marketing entity;
    • Transparency of marketing activities;
    • Protections from discrimination;
    • Arbitration where agreement cannot be reached;
    • State and Commonwealth Acts relating to the sugar industry and competition;
    • Codes of conduct in other industries; and
    • Any related matters.