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Sugar lobby has Cairns Post terrified

This letter was submitted to the Cairns Post two weeks ago but not published. The Cairns Post, Rupert Murdoch’s Far Northern newspaper propaganda unit, has an editorial policy of not publishing anything detrimental to the district’s large sugar cane growing and refining industry, never mind that nearly every nutritionist and medical doctor will warn that sugar consumption is dangerous to health. Northern icon and health advocate Geoff Guest, OAM, has told night clubbers to eat some food which would help stabilise their low blood sugar levels after consuming large amounts of alcohol. If clubs provided food late at night Mr Guest believes it would help stem violence.

Letter to the Editor

Comments by health professional Lolita Hunter in the Cairns Post, about indigenous health problems in communities does not go to the core of the problem.

It’s no good shutting the gate after the horse has bolted. The problems start with the old saying, “you are what you eat.”

Geoff Guest OAM with Professor Ernest Hunter, Cairns Mental Health Unit, discuss addictions and rehabilitation at an Atherton seminar in 2015

My 40 years of research at Petford Wellness Association working closely with Professor Ernest Hunter of the Cairns Mental Health Unit in recent years clearly show that food cravings are mostly caused by eating sugar.

A can of well-known soft drink and a chocolate bar for breakfast leads to immense problems such as diabetes, heart and psychological problems.

After rehabilitating 4000 adults and youths over 30 years I have discovered that a highly refined carbohydrate diet, excess sugar and a low fibre diet start the cravings.

The cravings lead to more sugar, alcohol and then drugs. If alcohol is unavailable drugs will do.

I have read a lot of hype from club goers about the changes to the lock out laws.

The doctors and ambulance officers agree with trying to reduce alcohol-related violence but we should stem the cause. So do I.

Night club patrons should have food before they leave the club because after hours of alcohol consumption their blood sugar levels are normally quite low which can cause confusion, anger and aggressiveness.

I heard my local Member Shane Knuth mention the need for food in clubs and he is quite right.

At least any troublesome clubbers might reduce their anger by eating good food and keep their fists to themselves.

Yours sincerely

Geoff Guest OAM


Foreign owned Wilmar and Tully Sugar uproot export pool

The shattering of the century-old sugar pool marketing mechanism is a direct result of the Labor and Liberal Governments allowing foreign ownership of vital industries.

The same can be said of the parlous state of the cattle industry where the processing sector is largely controlled by Brazilian interests. How much longer will primary producers allow the ‘farmer’s friend’ namely the National Party get away with allowing foreign ownership of our farms and food processing industries?

ABC Rural

Charlie McKillop, Suzannah Baker and Craig Zonca

Photo: Alick Osborne is the CEO of Tully Sugar Limited (Charlie McKillop)

Audio: CEO Alick Osborne says Tully Sugar will join Wilmar and MSF in exiting the sugar pool (ABC Rural)

It’s a case of another day, and another major foreign-owned milling company pulling out of Queensland’s century-old sugar export pool.

Tully Sugar, under the ownership of the Chinese state-controlled COFCO group, has announced it will follow the lead of Wilmar and MFS Sugar in cutting ties with Queensland Sugar Limited (QSL) in 2017.

Industry lobby group Canegrowers has described the move as a ‘shattering blow’.

“It is a major body blow to our aspirations to hold together the single-desk,” said Canegrowers chairman Paul Schembri.

“It’s another example of milling multi-nationals who have snubbed their noses at Australian cane farmers,” Mr Schembri said.

“After all, those farmers have real sweat, real skin and real risk in this game.”

But Tully Sugar CEO Alick Osborne defends the move.

“We will be trying to provide services to growers that give them the choice of different products, and potentially different providers of those products, to be able to price their sugar effectively.

“We’ve made the difficult decision [because of] the uncertainty surrounding the future of QSL.”

Mr Osborne says he is confident that COFCO can offer growers competitive finance.

“They already market large volumes of sugar through offices in Hong Kong and in Beijing so we have the ability to tap into that network.

“We will absolutely make sure that our growers continue to have access to world market prices.”

Time for government action

Audio: Canegrowers chairman Paul Schembri (ABC Rural)

Paul Schembri is unconvinced and wants the Federal and State governments to intervene.

“We believe there’s a commercial imbalance.

“We need to right a wrong and we need government involvement to sort this out,” Mr Schembri said.

Only a week ago, Canegrowers, millers and QSL attended a so-called ‘crisis meeting’ organised by the Queensland Agriculture Minister John McVeigh.

Mr Schembri is now calling on Mr McVeigh to take legislative action, rather than seeing the Minister become the ‘marriage counsellor’ for the industry.

“It could well be legislation that ensures growers have a right to a formal say about QSL and that grower economic interest is represented.”

“The mills might well be relying on a legal standing but I’d say this; ‘they don’t enjoy the support of growers’.”

Mackay Sugar says it will stick with QSL

Audio: Mackay Sugar standing by QSL (ABC Rural)

Mackay Sugar is standing by its commitment to Queensland Sugar Limited (QSL) but has a ‘fallback plan’ which involves marketing sugar through a foreign owned co-operative.

Despite the ‘trend’ of the bigger millers pulling out their sugar, Mackay Sugar CEO Quinton Hildebrand says he’s convinced QSL remains the best option for the entire industry.

“We’re going to stay within QSL, we support the QSL model and on the strength of that we believe it serves our best interests to stay and give it the best chance that we can,” Mr Hildebrand said.

“We can push for our number one prize which would be an industry solution supporting QSL, we think it’s better not to fragment the industry.”

However, the miller is taking an each-way bet in the marketing game.

Earlier this year, Mackay Sugar joined with Brazilian sugar giant, Copersucar, to create a marketing arm which will sell the mill’s economic interest of sugar from 2017.

“We’re very fortunate to have a ‘first prize’ [staying with QSL] and then a fallback position, so that’s why we’re confident,” Mr Hildebrand said.

“We’ll be aligned with the world’s biggest marketer of sugar [Copersucar] and we’ll be in a strong position.”

Mackay Sugar will sell its one third share of sugar through the arrangement, and could possibly sell growers’ two thirds if QSL isn’t viable.

“If the industry is fragmented due to the actions of others we’re in a good position to compete with them on the world market [because of deal].”

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