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You are here: Home Media Media Releases 31 August 2012 - Grain Producers Urges "Ask the right questions on wheat marketing"

31 August 2012 - Grain Producers Urges "Ask the right questions on wheat marketing"

Grain Producers Australia (GPA) has responded to broad attacks on its positioning on reform of wheat marketing legislation and retention of Wheat Exports Australia. GPA asserts that the issue is not and should not be about Wheat Exports Australia (WEA) per se, it is about providing the best possible solution for the evolution and ongoing transition of the wheat market.
The Government tabled the Wheat Export Marketing Amendment Bill (the Bill) in March, which aims to further deregulate the wheat market, abolish the industry funded regulator and replace port access undertakings with a voluntary code of practice, which is not yet developed.
GPA Chairman, Pete Mailler said, "The Bill, as proposed, fails to address the needs of growers in the wheat market and we have opposed it on that basis alone. The question of how the Bill solves the identified problems in the market have not been answered adequately, save to say the standard 'Trust us' response is not deemed to be adequate."
 
"The starting point for assessing the impact of the Bill must be premised on understanding functionally what is not working in the market and then seeing if the Bill fixes those issues without creating new ones. We have asked sensible and relevant questions about the proposed Bill and assessed its impact on that objective basis and subsequently determined that it does not substantially fix the old problems and also creates new ones." Mr Mailler said.
 
Mr Mailler says, "It is a disservice to growers that the debate about the Bill has focused on the retention or abolition of WEA. Singularly, discussing the current role of WEA in this context is irrelevant and misleading. The broad impact of relaxing specialist oversight of the wheat market must be robustly discussed and well understood before charging down the road to further deregulation in a market heavily biased in favour of incumbent monopolistic bulk handling companies borne out of massive public investment in a statutory environment that still stifles competition."
 
GPA has been working with all stakeholders in the industry specifically on what is, and is not, working well in the wheat market. This process has identified a series of key issues that need to be resolved. Subsequently, GPA is arguing strongly that port access, stocks reporting and cargo integrity are key issues that have not yet been addressed adequately, operationally by the market. Furthermore GPA has also identified that the anomaly between oversight of bulk and non-bulk exports must also be addressed.
 
Mr Mailler said, "GPA has determined that further deregulation at this time is premature and that the Bill does nothing to formally address the concerns that have been raised by growers and the trade consistently over the past twelve months. This position has been formally endorsed by Grain Producers South Australia, NSW Farmers Association, Victorian Farmers Federation and AgForce Grains, representing two thirds of nation's grain production."
 
"The debate around sensible evolution and reform of wheat marketing legislation has been hamstrung by single minded arguments about whether we should or should not retain WEA. GPA has a view that WEA can be redirected to a more relevant role as part of a broader reform proposal. GPA has offered the only proposed reform of the wheat marketing framework that actually addresses the issues raised by growers and industry alike."
 
"If there is a better solution to address the issues we have raised, then bring it forward. GPA is and always has been open to a better solution that actually addresses the issues, but as yet, regardless of ideological rhetoric, we have not seen one. The current Bill does not present a workable solution to our problems and we have no option other than to continue to oppose it on that basis", he said.
 
ENDS
For more information please contact: Pete Mailler 0427 265 707
 
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