Palaszczuk to fight Turnbull for sake of QLD sugar industry

THE Palaszczuk Government wants to take the unusual step of making a Freedom of Information request to try and save Queensland's sugar industry.

The request will be made to the Commonwealth Government and will aim to discover what the final Productivity Commission report says about regulation in the Queensland sugar industry. 

"This is an extraordinary step, but it's a bid to save our sugar industry and there is no time to lose," said Agriculture Minister Bill Byrne.

"The LNP are threatening to introduce further regulations on an industry that has been significantly damaged by their 2015 amendments to the Sugar Industry Act.  They are threatening to do this despite sugar millers warning it will 'put the entire sugar industry at risk'."

"The industry has real fears that these new amendments being planned by the LNP put the whole industry and the thousands of jobs it supports at risk.  The Government shares those concerns."

"Before the LNP defies the industry with its job-destroying legislation, all MPs should know the Productivity Commission's verdict on the impact of the 2015 amendments.

"Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce should release the Productivity Commission report without delay."

According to Mr Byrne the draft report said that the 2015 changes were counter-productive and likely to restrict competition, innovation and productivity growth. 

"It said re-regulating the industry was also likely to constrain innovation in marketing and continue to limit the premiums available to sugarcane growers.

"Further it said that the costs of the Sugar Industry (Real Choice in Marketing) Amendment Act outweigh the benefits and that repealing the Act could enable consolidation and productivity gains which would enhance the international competitiveness of the sugar industry.

"No surprise then that the draft report's single recommendation was that the Queensland Government should repeal the amendments."

Minister Byrne said it would an act of economic vandalism for the LNP to introduce further regulations without knowing the details of the final report.

The Productivity Commission's final report was handed to the Australian Government on 15 November but the Turnbull Government has repeatedly refused all requests to release it.

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