Christensen says FIRB Chair 'should resign'
THE chair of the Foreign Investment Review Board, Brian Wilson, made his way into the cross hairs of the outspoken Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen this week.
Mr Christensen shared a link to Financial Review story on Facebook, written by Anne Hyland, in which Mr Wilson weighed in on the Wilmar/ Queensland Sugar Limited dispute, describing amendments to the Sugar Act - made in December 2105 by the LNP Government - to which Wilmar is obliged to comply with as a "terrible outcome”.
In his Facebook post Mr Christensen said Mr Wilson "should resign”.
"His comments criticising Barnaby Joyce and the LNP's stance on the sugar marketing dispute are extraordinary as is the fact that the head of the watchdog for foreign investment is publicly running interference for a foreign company,” the post read.
Mr Christensen then attacked the FIRB directly.
"If the Foreign Investment Review Board has done its job properly in the first place we would not be in the mess we are today with the sugar industry.
Mr Christensen then went into bat for cane growers.
"It's not about treating foreign companies like second-class citizens. It's about stopping foreign companies from treating our farmers like second-class citizens.”
Manager of Canegrowers Mike Porter said the rules since foreign investment began in the sugar industry have not changed.
"The cane price formula has always remained there and the grower through the formula ... has a vested interest in the price of sugar,” he said.
"That has not changed, both Wilmar and all the other milling companies have all agreed to abide by the cane price formula.
"The price of cane is derived from the price of sugar. That hasn't changed. Yes, there has been some legislation around the marketing but I don't think that has changed the fundamentals.”
Mr Porter said the Real Choice in Marketing amendment to the Sugar Act was not designed to restrict the rights of sugar millers.
"It is actually designed to open up competition, not to restrict competition down to QSL,” he said.