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Australia doesn’t have, and doesn’t want,

Karnal bunt – a fungal disease of wheat and

triticale that impacts grain quality. It is found

on several continents though, so the risk of

travel to Australia is real.

A rapid response can limit disease spread,

which is why Plant Health Australia (PHA),

the coordinator of the industry-government

partnership for plant biosecurity in Australia,

is running Exercise Haryana.

Preparedness and practice are key elements,

with all involved in the exercise simulating

the roles they would have to carry out if

an incursion did occur. Stopping a disease

like Karnal bunt would involve the whole

supply chain from farmers through to grain

users, so the first stage in the exercise saw

around 40 people working together from

across Australia during August to plan all the

necessary steps.

GPA strongly supports Exercise Haryana,

which will continue during 2016 with two

more segments during autumn and spring

and see many more people involved across


And why the name for the exercise?

Because the name “Karnal” bunt

derives from the city of Karnal in the

Indian state of Haryana, where the

disease was first reported in 1931.


Of significant concern to the GPA Grains

Policy Council members has been

the process for the development and

determination of grain standards. GPA

has written to Grain Trade Australia (GTA)

outlining the following principles as key to

restoring confidence in GTA’s administration

of grain standards:

The development and articulation of an

objective criteria that is utilised in the

development and determination of grain


Improved transparency of the evidence

considered and the likely impact of

proposed changes as part of industry

consultation during the development

of standards

Improved ownership over the processes

of the development and determination

of grain standards by the production

sector through greater involvement

in the selection of production sector

representatives upon GTA Committees.



GPA is a strong supporter of biosecurity for

country-country trade, however in August

when the Department of Agriculture came

out with proposals to lift inspection charges

for export certification for grain from 11

cents per tonne up to 20 cents per tonne,

angry questions were asked.

The Department has moved to fully recover

costs from services such as export inspection

and, with industry support, is part way

though implementing an “authorised officer”

system, whereby company staff are trained

and certified to conduct inspections instead

of requiring government officers. It’s a good

model, although there are many steps (and

thus charges) that still require government


Challenging for the Department is that full

cost recovery brings with it a much greater

need for accountability. As part of its plan,

the Department proposed to combine grain

and horticulture sectors together in its

books, making scrutiny near impossible.

The good news is that after industry outcry

the Minister for Agriculture announced

an independent review to examine the

certification and inspection costs associated

with the revised system of fees and charges.

He also said grains and horticulture will be

accounted for separately and emphasised

the importance of making sure fees and

charges are fair, equitable, transparent and

relative to the services being provided.

Under the new charges set for 2015/16 there

is still some per tonne fee increase, but this

declines again in 2016/17 and returns to the

current level by 2017/18. GPA looks forward

to the outcome of the review. For more

information see



Issue One 2016

Issue One 2016


Once again nature has thrown us a challenging season

in many parts of the country. A harsh spring, bushfires and

a weather-impacted harvest have caused frustration and

personal loss or even worse in some cases. In contrast, some

areas have produced well in the prevailing conditions, which

is a strong vote for modern agriculture. Media reports of

increased student numbers for tertiary agriculture studies bode

well for our industry in the longer term. Amidst all this Grain

Producers Australia has been very active, with this newsletter

reporting on issues addressed since June 2015.