Dawson MP George Christensen has spoken out against Wilmar in parliament.
Dawson MP George Christensen has spoken out against Wilmar in parliament. Luke Mortimer

UPDATE: Wilmar responds to claims it's 'delaying' process

UPDATE: WILMAR has blamed Queensland Sugar Limited for delays in securing an on-supply agreement, and preventing growing locking in high sugar prices.

Following reports it was Wilmar causing the delays, executive general manager North Queensland John Pratt issued a statement to growers Monday where he stated "the only thing preventing growers capitalising on current strong prices is QSL not yet accepting reasonable terms for the purchase of sugar from Wilmar."

After legislation was passed last year to guarantee growers choice in how their sugar was marketed, Queensland Sugar Limited and Wilmar have needed to create an on-supply agreement.

The on-supply agreement would allow growers to choose QSL to market their sugar even after Wilmar milled it, and therefore provide this choice.

But negotiations surrounding the terms of the on-supply agreement are continuing.

On Friday afternoon Wilmar released some details of meetings it had held with QSL about the agreement.

QSL managing director and chief executive officer Greg Beashel later responded, and said the company was " disappointed that Wilmar has again chosen to attempt to position these negotiations in a way that, in our opinion, is not a fair and full representation of the current state of negotiations regarding this important matter".

On Monday morning Wilmar issued the second statement, where it said it saw no reason the terms of these negotiations should not be fully transparent.

"You can see from my message and the term sheet the lengths to which we have gone to accommodate QSL and to ensure that growers are not disadvantaged by QSL's inability or unwillingness to accept standard global sugar industry purchasing terms," Mr Pratt said.

"Of course, the real issue is the one at hand - QSL's decision about the reasonable offer on the table now that Wilmar has made significant concessions to attempt to resolve QSL's key threshold issues such as title, payment terms, storage and handling, quality and access to information.

"We invite QSL to tell us - and you - what is holding us all back from getting on with it."

EARLIER: FEDERAL Member for Dawson George Christensen has threatened to take action against Singaporean miller Wilmar if it continues "its push to turn cane growers into peasants".

The MP spoke in Parliament Monday morning, and said a code of conduct had already been drafted that would ensure "a foreign corporation can never ride roughshod over cane growers again" if legislated.

Wilmar's cane growers have not been able to lock in sky high sugar prices, as Queensland Sugar Limited and Wilmar have failed to agree to an on-supply agreement.

The on-supply agreement would give growers choice in how their sugar is marketed, allowing them to choose QSL to market their sugar even after Wilmar milled it.

But negotiations surrounding the terms of the on-supply agreement are continuing.

On Friday afternoon Wilmar released some details to its growers, concerning the confidential meetings it had held with QSL about the agreement.

QSL managing director and chief executive officer Greg Beashel later responded, and said the company was " disappointed that Wilmar has again chosen to attempt to position these negotiations in a way that, in our opinion, is not a fair and full representation of the current state of negotiations regarding this important matter".

Canegrowers Mackay chairman Kevin Borg was also frustrated by the move.

He wanted to see a meeting between Wilmar, QSL and Canegrowers take place on the issue.

But he said Wilmar had so far been reluctant to offer the growers a seat.

 

Federal MP George Christensen's speech:

The Member for Dawson spoke in Parliament this morning about the negotiations between Wilmar and QSL:

"Despite having crops already in the ground and the best prices for years, most cane farmers have not signed cane supply agreements with Wilmar because Wilmar's proposed agreements deny farmers their right to choice in marketing.

Singaporean miller, Wilmar, which owns eight mills in North Queensland, took out a full page ad in the papers last week, to complain about the poor publicity they are getting.

But the publicity is completely justified.

Wilmar's ad did not mention its failure to negotiate an on-supply agreement with QSL and without this agreement, growers do not have the choice in marketing that Queensland legislated to provide."

Wilmar claims to be negotiating in good faith but facts say otherwise," Mr Christensen said.

Wilmar made details of their offer to QSL confidential, stopping QSL from publicly pointing out the unfair nature of the contract.

But then Wilmar cherry-picked parts of the "confidential" proposal on Friday and emailed them to growers.

If Wilmar truly believed it was a fair and honest negotiation, it would release all the details.

When farmers asked for a seat at the negotiation table - after all, it is their livelihoods at stake here - QSL agreed but Wilmar refused.

If Wilmar does not give growers their right to choice in marketing, there will be action.

If Wilmar continues its push to turn cane growers into peasants, they will force the hand of government and the Code of Conduct that has already been drafted will need to be legislated and enforced to ensure a foreign corporation can never ride roughshod over cane growers again."


'It's laughable': Eliminated Byron bachelorette hits back

'It's laughable': Eliminated Byron bachelorette hits back

Jamie-Lee on life after The Bachelor, her relationship with Brooke.

LETTER: Call to close nude beach due to Queensland sex pests

LETTER: Call to close nude beach due to Queensland sex pests

Call to kill off clothing optional beach.

Local Partners