More questions than answers

D-Day for the single desk has arrived, but the future for Australian wheat exports remains little clearer.

Every side within the debate from hardened deregulationists to rusted-on single desk supporters will have issues with the non-decision, which pushes real action on wheat exports beyond the November election.

At face value, AWB appears to have done well out of the decision to have them manage the upcoming pool.

Government is not doing anything to sanction the disgraced exporter for its actions in Iraq, instead leaving that up to the legal sector.

Critics will say that by not acting, government has sanctioned the exporter's behaviour.

However, on the flip side, while the Government has given industry until March 1 to come up with a viable plan for a single desk system, in theory it is going to be hard to pull off.

Already, two of the five major grain growing groups are refusing to participate within the GCA framework.

And while four groups have come to agreement on their desire for a demerged AWB Ltd and International, consensus on the details of such a proposal is far from guaranteed.

This raises the question: has the canny Prime Minister simply scuttled the single desk as an election issue only to quietly move to the deregulated market favoured by the Liberals after the election?

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READER COMMENTS

angryman
23/05/2007 2:52:29 AM

The government have sold us out with a model that has no chance of working. Just when there was some hope of a sensible conclusion they came out with the worst possible result. Howard is a gutless little runt. Iffla should be held accountable when this model ruins what is left of the Australian wheat industry. Here comes a lot of barley because I for one am not prepared to grow wheat under this ridiculous system.
Ceres
23/05/2007 6:45:33 PM

Now that the government has announced their decision, when will the Ralph Report be released to the industry?
Billy
23/05/2007 6:54:19 PM

The coalition Government elected by Australians to govern, has made the very best choice wanted by Grain Growers of all States. Well done. Early retirement for Wilson Tuckey ,would see not only Western Australians served better, but all Australians.
Single Rip-Off
23/05/2007 7:56:55 PM

Angryman I agree with every sentiment you wrote. The Liberal Party has cow tailed to the Nationals to supposedly gain political points. I will resign my membership to the Liberal Party today after 28 years and will never help fund raise or work on a Polling Booth again handing out how to vote cards. The Liberals are finished with me. Rudd will do something better to reform this industry and give wheat growers freedom of choice. I cannot see why this is impossible for Howard to do when he does it for the workers of Australia. Farmers will have to show our rage and stand up now and prove Howard wrong. We are reducing our wheat plantings but still need some wheat grown for rotations. We will not sell to AWB or any other farmer monopoly system and if need be we will cut our wheat for hay or withhold from the pool. If little Johnny thinks farmers will shut up and go away look out as I will write to papers and make sure the city voters hear about his sham of rewarding a corrupt company and selling out wheat growers for political power. Watch out Johnny you are gone.
NSW farmer
24/05/2007 1:54:10 AM

Spite and anger never leads to sensible or rational decisions. The PM is clearly angry with the AWB for damaging his international reputation. The public appear equally angry with the PM and are not as convinced as the Cole Inquiry that Government Ministers have been honest about a lack lack of knowledge of the AWB's actions in Iraq. Add the publics lack of belief in the PM's statements over Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, and it is easier to understand why the polls are giving the thumbs down to a PM who has pilotted Australia into such a strong financial position. The public must also be questioning why the Government refused the most fair and democratic method of obtaining wheat growers views on the Single Desk via a national vote of growers. Take out the spite and anger and just maybe the best outcome for Australia's wheat growers can be achieved instead of the present half baked and short sighted decision.
dozer
24/05/2007 2:46:24 AM

A great result for wheat growers- the last thing we would want is for the international traders to screw us like in the past. Wilson Tuckey is not in touch !
Grain Farmer
24/05/2007 6:31:25 AM

OK Wheatgrowers, get ready to be forced to deliver your export wheat to an organisation that has been responsible for Australia's worst corporate scandal in history. You are going to have to bear all the costs and liabilities through a mounting series of class actions and legal proceedings and just watch your pools de-value by the day. What an apalling decision this is! For the first time in my life I will be voting Labour!
Michael Hein
24/05/2007 7:00:11 PM

How will Mr Mc Gauran use his veto power? Going by the last round we can only be pessimistic. The problem is that he and his minders do not have a clue how the international grain market ticks. The WEA under new management is trying hard to gain a better understanding, but they have understandably large gaps, having been subjected to the one sided "education" (=brain washing) by AWB for many years. So, Mr McGauran's cop out is "public interest" and he refuses to define what that means in the context of wheat export. Consequently he conveniently puts political interest forward as public interest, hoping to get away with it. By doing so he is insulting the intelligence of many farmers and other straight thinking people.
Billy
24/05/2007 11:05:51 PM

Angryman, & Single Rip-off, plant your barley. As for myself, and many Industry friends who hail the decision of the farmer organisations supporting the Federal Coalition's call, we will plant extra acreages this coming year.
NSW farmer
25/05/2007 6:19:00 AM

Those people bagging the concept of Single Desk Wheat Marketing are still very much in the minority of growers on all surveys ever taken. The Government is clearly acknowledging this in their recent support for continuation of the Single Desk. There are plenty of substantive reasons for Australian growers to have a Single Desk Wheat Marketing System. These have been repeatedly explained in bringing the majority of growers out in support. Surely if opponents of Single Desk have better information they should be able to use it in rationally pursuading the majority to change their minds, instead of resorting to the character assassination of those favouring it.
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