Plane Creek Mill owner Wilmar Sugar plans to split from the state’s main sugar marketer, Queensland Sugar Limited, by 2017.
Plane Creek Mill owner Wilmar Sugar plans to split from the state’s main sugar marketer, Queensland Sugar Limited, by 2017. Lee Constable

Wilmar’s withdrawal from Qld Sugar is a 'bastard act'

IT'S a bastard act.

Those are the words used by Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen to describe Wilmar's decision to withdraw from Queensland Sugar Limited after 2017.

The candid MP believes the move could spell the end of the traditional marketing arm for the state's sugar and he will fight to have it turned around.

He has already discussed the issue with Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.

"As a result of this decision, I will be actively lobbying for a legislative instrument to protect growers' economic interest in their own sugar," Mr Christensen said.

John Pratt, the North Queensland executive general manager of Wilmar Sugar, which owns Plane Creek and Proserpine mills, said the deal would deliver the best outcomes for growers.

"We see this as a unique opportunity to create a genuine commercial partnership with our growers," Mr Pratt said.

However Plane Creek suppliers, who farm in the Sarina region, said they were "shocked".

Canegrowers Mackay chairman Kevin Borg, who is a Wilmar Sugar grower, said the company hadn't given growers any notice.

"This announcement comes without any recognition for growers in the supply chain."

Mr Borg said the move was even more disappointing considering industry had been working collaboratively on many platforms to support QSL.

QSL chief executive officer Greg Beashel said there were clear contractual arrangements with the Raw Sugar Supply Agreement that meant any party providing a notice would remain in the system for three years.

"It is disappointing... however, we hope that the industry can come together and agree on a more collaborative sustainable marketing model for the future."



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