THE pro-cooperative lobby could be celebrating some success in the Co-operative Bulk Handling (CBH) election with long-serving director and pro-corporate director John Carstairs replaced by Rod Madden in the Geraldton zone.
Mr Madden, who was unavailable for comment when Farm Weekly went to press, is a well-known supporter of cooperatives and was one of the founding members of United Farmers Co-operative (UFCC).
His election platform included accountable and transparent services and charges, providing factual and unbiased information for growers to make a decision on the future of the cooperative and to regain grower ownership and control.
Mr Madden, of Morawa, also advocated open and accountable corporate governance.
Mr Carstairs, Perenjori, who had been a CBH director since 1974, also was unavailable to comment before Farm Weekly went to print.
Mick McGinniss was re-elected in the Kwinana zone with a clear majority of 752 votes after preferences.
His nearest competitor, beacon grower Derek Clauson, gained 500 votes with preferences.
Mr McGinniss, who begins his second term on the board, said he was concerned about the competition he faced in the elections and was happy to have won.
He said CBH was an integral part of WA grower businesses and he wanted to ensure the company remained relevant to its shareholders.
"It's working for me as a shareholder and I want to keep it going that way," Mr McGinniss said.
He said he supported a cooperative structure because it provided benefits to growers of $10t-$15t but was not against reviews to ensure a cooperative still provided the best returns to growers.
Mr Clauson said it was obvious from the results that Mr McGinniss was deemed a good representative.
"That's what we were testing," Mr Clauson said.
He said the election also drew a response from Mr McGinniss on his support to retain a cooperative, which would hopefully allow it to receive a more favourable hearing at board level.
No ballot was conducted in the Esperance zone, with CBH Group director Neil Wandel retaining his position uncontested.
CBH returning officer David Woolfe said about 62pc of growers in the Geraldton zone and 49pc of growers in the Kwinana zone voted in the elections.
"There were a number of high quality candidates who put their names forward for these elections and I thank them for nominating," Mr Woolfe said.
"I would hope that they will continue to be actively involved in helping to create a strong and sustainable grains industry in WA."
CBH Group chairman Tony Critch said all candidates were well respected and accomplished individuals.
"I particularly acknowledge the outstanding contribution made by John Carstairs to the CBH Group and grains industry during his tenure as director," Mr Critch said.
"John first joined the board in 1974 and has served the growers of WA exceptionally well for the past 32 years.
"John has been a wonderful ambassador for the WA grains industry and has successfully represented the best interests of growers to help strengthen their company and secure their future.
"On behalf of the CBH Group board, I welcome Rod to his new role and we look forward to working together as a group to represent the growers of this state.
"There have been many changes and challenges facing the industry over the last few years and new changes and challenges will continue to present themselves as we determine our future.
"The board will continue to ensure the sustainability and strength of this organisation and to provide not only the best returns, but to secure the best future for all Western Australian graingrowers."
The formal declaration of election results will be made at the CBH Group AGM on Wednesday, April 5, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Perth, from 3pm.
The AGM is open to all CBH Group grower shareholders.