ASMC advocates to ensure government policies support rather than hinder our sugar milling members’ operations. We have identified a number of priority areas of focus including market access, trade liberalisation and energy/climate change where state and federal government policies can have significant influence on sugar industry growth and viability.
Positive Regulatory Environment
Restrictive regulations including the Sugar Code of Conduct and the mirroring Queensland state marketing legislation challenge the future growth and stability of the sugar industry. The Sugar Code of Conduct has added uncertainty, complexity and cost to sugar industry operations. At a time when Australia’s sugarcane growers and sugar millers are facing clear and considerable challenges to their future viability, the Code has deterred investment, and undermined competitiveness.
Market Access and Trade
Australia is an open and trade-based economy and raw sugar trading is highly competitive. Gaining access to new markets is a priority as over 85% of our raw sugar is traded globally. Because our industry is exposed to market volatility, liberal trade settings are also critical to Australian sugar’s profitability and ongoing viability.
Our members’ mills are almost self-sufficient in co-generated power and our surplus renewable electricity is exported to the national grid. We remain concerned that the most recent, stalled, National Energy Guarantee (NEG) proposals did not recognise or reward the renewable energy/biomass investments put in place by the Australian sugar industry.
Social License to Operate
Australia’s sugar industry faces a raft of community-driven challenges to its social licence to operate. Health and nutrition concerns linking obesity levels and sugar consumption are top of mind in the community, as are environmental concerns and best practice management practices to protect the Great Barrier Reef.
The sugar industry has benefited substantially from research and development-led innovation. Industry investment in applied science and the subsequent application of the accumulated knowledge and expertise has delivered consistent gains. However, the sugar industry has further potential to match the productivity improvements achieved in some other agricultural industries in recent times. The high levels of investment in sugar RD&E have not yet to deliver their full potential.
People & Safety
All members prioritise employee and contractor safety. They collaborate and drive innovations on people issues across the sugar milling industry.