Statement on Sugar Industry Motion

I would like to indicate that the government cannot support this motion because it is a premature motion. 

Negotiations are still occurring between sugar mills and sugar growers and it is not the right time for the government to act before those negotiations are concluded. Everybody in the sector appreciates that the best outcome here is a commercial outcome, that the best outcome is for millers and growers to come back together. Indeed, they will have to do that at some point. This approach is consistent with the government's approach to the food and grocery industry code earlier this year.

I would also like to note that the Prime Minister has established a sugar marketing task force, which has reported. It took 32 submissions and had meetings will all interested stakeholders. We have had a Senate inquiry with three public hearings and 51 submissions which made recommendations. While I welcome the interest of my fellow senator from Queensland, I would like to note that he was not at any of those Senate hearings, he has not made a submission to that task force and he has not been involved in the process to date.

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