NO COMMENT: NSW Sugar Milling Co-op CEO Greg Messiter won?t discuss contract details.
NO COMMENT: NSW Sugar Milling Co-op CEO Greg Messiter won?t discuss contract details.

Mills beaten on price after 32-year-long run

By NERIDA BLOK

GRAHAM Martin blames economics for NSW Sugar Milling Co-operative's failure to renew its sugar hauling contract with Mills Transport. "I believe the best price won the tender," said Mr Martin, president of the NSW Cane Growers' Association. Effective from the start of the 2005 crushing season Mr Martin said the contract was awarded to Melbourne-based transport company Specialised Containers Transport. The co-operative's decision not to renew its contract with the Lismore-based, family-owned transport company last week marked the end of a 32-year relationship. It has also created employment uncertainty for 110 of Mills Transport's full-time casual staff servicing the cooperative's three regional mills. NSW Sugar Milling Co-operative chief executive officer Greg Messiter refused to comment on specifics of the contract, saying it was one of many 'renewed or discontinued on a regular basis'. "This is just another one of those," he said Mr Messiter said that at the end of the day, there would still be an equivalent number of trucks and local jobs for people driving the trucks. Bill Walker, sugar operations manager for the co-operative, based at Broadwater, said at the request of drivers a meeting was held yesterday with SCT staff and truck driver representatives at Harwood Mill to discuss the employment situation. "Obviously the drivers know the area and have local knowledge, which is important, but it's a matter between the new company and the drivers," Mr Walker said. "From the co-operative's point of view, we wouldn't be looking to make any wholesale changes in drivers." n What do you think? Phone the Star Feedback line on 6624 3266 or email opin- ions@northernstar.com.au



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