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The establishment of an Agriculture specific

commissioner within the ACCC should

provide vitally needed expertise and a focus

on the way “competition” and market issues

should be looked at by the ACCC. GPA has

put forward a strong nominee to be part

of the Agricultural Advisory Committee

and looks forward to seeing some more

appropriate decisions coming out of the

ACCC in the future.

This year there have been some decisions

by the ACCC with regards port access

regimes that will have an impact on the

grains industry. Despite strong lobbying

and many meetings the ACCC has decided

to exempt most port operators from key

requirements of the Port Access Code.

GPA has questioned these decisions, as there

has been no analysis or rationale provided

to illustrate how removing the requirements

would benefit the grain producers who

ultimately pay all port costs.

The ACCC view that container trade provides

a strong competitive force against monopoly

port owners has left smaller grain exporters

without a mandatory arbitration process

or transparent fee structure. We believe

the ACCC decision will be seen to have an

impact on grain marketers and ultimately

growers, so we will be encouraging the new

Agricultural Commissioner to watch this and

be willing to act decisively when necessary.

The ACCC team working within the mergers

area seems to have a very good grasp of the

importance of transparent access to critical

infrastructure, as illustrated by their decision

in late October to fully review the Brookfield

purchase of Asciano. GPA lobbied for this

review and commended the ACCC for so

clearly outlining and supporting the concerns

we identified.

GPA would like to see all critical

infrastructure covered by a clearly defined

and enforced national access regime and

we support the ACCC stance that allowing

vertical integration of this nature would be

of detriment to our industry.

Prior to approving the sale of Asciano there

must be an oversight regime that ensures

the owner’s ability to extract monopoly

rents and put at risk WA growers’ ability to

get grain to export markets is adequately

addressed. The regime must be taken over

by the ACCC and developed with principles

that will provide consistent regulation

over similar critical infrastructure access

situations in other States as well. For more

information see au/media-release/accc-decides-not-to- accept-brookfield%E2%80%99s-proposed- undertakings



GPA has been working on key reforms to

regulations concerning key agricultural

chemicals and veterinary medicine (AgVet)

for some years, with one of the most

important current issues being the need for

increased investment by chemical companies

to bring new technologies to Australia.

It is clear to GPA that we need appropriate

regulation of chemicals for our market

size, while also recognising that reducing

regulatory hurdles will be only one

component in driving investment. Overall

the scale and return on investment from the

Australian AgVet market is a key barrier for

commercial companies – in effect a form of

market failure.

Well-designed incentive programs reduce

market failure in the registration of minor

use chemicals and in some jurisdictions

have been so successful that the need for

Government co-investment no longer exists.

What this shows is that a new dialogue

and opportunity for AgVet investment in

Australia is required, perhaps along the line

of investment incentives such as are seen in

the USA.

GPA proposals to government that support

these improvements include:

• Establish a provisional registration system

with fee payment finalised data package

deferral options based on agroecological

co-equivalence and same use in crops/

animals overseas

• Formal collaboration with IR-4 and

establish an Australian minor use

program cost recovery model that

mirrors the US and Canadian minor

use programs

• Establish a points credit system for

registrants who support industry with

minor use needs and market failure

to incentivise new commercial AgVet

investment into Australia

• Adopt in new AgVet legislation and

regulations improved data protection

for emergency and minor use permits

to improve registrant support for vitally

important supply of overseas and local

data to industry




In early July Minister Barnaby Joyce declared

both GPA and Grain Growers Limited (GGL)

to be Representative Organisations (ROs)

under the

Primary Industries Research

and Development Act 1989

. This relates

to the Grains Research and Development

Corporation and formal consultative

requirements under the Act, with GPA having

been the sole RO since replacing the Grains

Council of Australia.

Following the Minister’s announcement GPA

and GGL formulated workable plans on how

to jointly perform the RO function, with the

first GRDC consultative meeting under the

new arrangements held during September.

The Minister also invited GGL to explore

grains representation to Plant Health

Australia under the Emergency Plant Pest

Response Deed. GGL has since advised it

believes GPA should continue as the sole

grains industry signatory to the Deed,

although has asked to be involved in

emergency response planning and similar

activities, as well as indicating interest in

the processes and functions of Plant Health


Issue One 2016