22 May 2013: KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter says the Qld Government would have been right at home in the days of the privateers following yesterdays revelations of a secret deal to deliver a foreign-owned corporation sole rights to sell Australias $1.7b raw sugar pool.

“Our ALP-LNP governments almost seem to support monopolies,” said Mr Katter following news reports on a confidential signed agreement for marketer Qld Sugar Ltd to contract out its sugar supply to multinational giant Wilmar.

“Government has failed to make any declaration against this outrageous proposal for Wilmar to take control of the single desk seller, which would give them total monopoly powers at the farm supply end and at the international retail end.

“The fact that it could even be discussed meant that it had to have tacit government approval from the LNP State Government.

“The government would have been at home in the days of the privateers of old, since they seem to be happy that the corporation is allowed to rape, pillage and enslave at will.”

Mr Katter said the secret deal behind growers backs makes infinitely more imperative initiatives such as the Pentland project* with Mackay Sugar, in order to put Australian farmers and co-operatives in a powerful position in the international marketplace.

Mr Katter said the fears of local farmers, that their economic interests would not be best served if foreign-owned millers operating in Australia also took control of their own marketing, had been demonstrated by the recent defection of Atherton Tablelands canegrowers from supplying their local foreign-owned miller Maryborough Sugar Factory (which sought to sell its sugar through its parent company rather than QSL) to choosing to instead supply the Australian-owned rival Mackay Sugar Co-operative Association.

“We praise our Mareeba sugar leaders on their strong stance in this situation, and strongly urge other growers around Queensland to take a leaf out of their book,” said Mr Katter.