QUEENSLAND: by Victor SirlNews Weekly
Good news for Golden Circle
, October 6, 2001
The sun is finally shining for Golden Circle and the Queensland pineapple industry. Two pieces of good news have given the promise of a brighter future.
The first is that the anti-dumping submission to the Australian Customs Service appears to be have had a large degree of success. Secondly, a change to the Income Tax Assessment Act will help the overall profitability of the industry.
Customs has produced a Statement of Essential Facts,
and it will become the basis for its recommendations to Federal Minister Chris Ellison regarding the issue of dumped pineapple produce from Thailand and Indonesia.
The document finds that dumping of produce has occurred from Thailand; and dumped food service pineapple from Indonesia was also established, but in negligible volumes when compared to total imports.
The ACS has reported a dumping duty notice on pineapple juice concentrate from Thailand as a measure to prevent further injury to the pineapple industry while the investigation is completed. Customs is due to report to Ellison on October 1 following submissions to the Essential Statement of Facts
no later than September 6.
Golden Circle is confident that action will eventually be taken against other pineapple products from Thailand. To do this, the Government must accept proof of serious injury to the local industry from dumping. The final decision will rest with the Minister.
The ALP Member for Lilley, Wayne Swan, welcomed these developments and is calling on the local community to keep the pressure on to prevent the Government from becoming complacent about the fate of this Australian company and its workers.
Swan has campaigned in support of Golden Circle and the pineapple industry from the start, citing the impact on local jobs and related small business as a reason to be concerned about dumped produce.
One Government member who did take an interest in the industry, and has won praise from Golden Circle, is Senator Ron Boswell. For two years he has worked on the firm's behalf to have the Income Tax Assessment Act changed to benefit co-operatives.
A ruling has now taken place that gives co-operatives such as Golden Circle the option to distribute franked dividend payments to their shareholders, rather than have these payments treated as deductions from the co-operative's assessable income.
Managing Director of Golden Circle, Barry Kelly, said:
"Without Senator Boswell's persistence in pursuing this matter on our behalf, our industry could not implement an aggressive growth strategy to secure the future of the company and the pineapple industry".
In terms of the benefits from the decision, he stated: "This will effectively return a further 30 per cent dividend rebate to our shareholder farmers, assisting them to improve their competitiveness in a global market".
He also felt the decision gave Golden Circle greater financial flexibility to compete with publicly listed food companies.
So, it seems that some sanity may be evident in Canberra and that the sun will indeed shine once more on the Queensland pineapple industry.
Certainly, Chris Ellison, given the findings of the ACS, will have the opportunity to kick a goal for Australia and Australian jobs.