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Collective bargaining approved for sugar industry

A rainbow brings some sparkle to cane fields in the aftermath of the Tweed floods.
A rainbow brings some sparkle to cane fields in the aftermath of the Tweed floods. Chris Kimball

FARMING group Canegrowers says its members will directly benefit from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission allowing collective bargaining in the sugar industry.

"We welcome the ACCC decision to allow our district representatives to collectively bargain cane supply and other contracts with both mill owners and sugar marketers," Canegrowers CEO Dan Galligan said.

"This decision overcomes some uncertainty in the scope of the Sugar Industry Act and means our districts can share information and expertise, delivering effective and timely grower input to these complex processes.

"We are particularly heartened that the ACCC says its proposed authorisation is likely to result in public benefits by facilitating grower choice in sugar marketing, and therefore competition."

Canegrowers and its members waged a long campaign to secure choice and competition in sugar marketing services and have "faced barrages of misleading messages" from some millers and the Queensland Government about re-regulation, the industry body has alleged.

The ACCC decision underlines the competition benefits of guaranteeing grower choice in sugar marketing services and grower involvement as contracts are discussed.

The ACCC makes it clear that under the authorisation, to take effect on May 5 if there are no applications for review, it is up to the parties in any negotiation to decide the extent to which they take up the opportunity.

"However, in the light of this ACCC determination, Canegrowers encourages all mill owners and marketers to enable grower participation in all negotiations to ensure there is a clear link between cane supply agreements, between growers and millers, and on-supply agreements, between millers and marketers," Mr Galligan said.

Topics:  canegrowers collective bargaining sugar



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