TAXATION, fuel costs, parts supplies and transport regulations were among the key issues discussed at the inaugural Farm Machinery Dealers Association (FMDA) meeting at El Caballo Blanco, Woorooloo, on June 22, 1977.
The meeting was held following a discussion at Parliament House on May 31 where a decision to form the association was made.
The then Hon. MLA Sandy Lewis played a pivotal role in organising eight WA machinery dealers to discuss "forming a Farm Machinery Dealers Association to look after the interests of machinery dealers".
Dealers attending were Don Hosken (Three Springs), Alan Parsons (Bunbury), Colin Manly (Geraldton), Ian Bolto (Katanning), Tom James (Bindoon), Peter Staines (Geraldton), Max Carson (Merredin) and John Lynn (Trayning).
Sandy recalled that he and John Lynn first discussed the formation of an association of dealers in 1969.
At the annual meeting, John Lynn was elected president and Don Hosken and Ian Bolto were elected vice presidents, with Sandy Lewis elected as secretary-treasurer.
Discussion then followed on the areas from which the committee should come and three zones were created ‹ southern central and northern.
It was then moved that one committee man be elected before lunch and one after lunch ‹ the reason was not recorded in the minutes but one dealer present at the meeting thought the motion might be to ensure the meeting continued rather than dissipate into a late lunch.
The inaugural committee comprised Alan Parsons and Tim Ratten, Esperance (southern zone); Max Carson and Greg Humphries, Corrigin (central zone), John Jolly, Dalwallinu, and Graham Bunny, Dalwallinu (northern zone).
An Elders Weekly representative at the meeting, J Thatcher, offered public relations.
Through the efforts of Sandy, the FMDA was responsible for a conference in 1979 which was held at the Claremont Showgrounds and attracted many farm machinery dealers from the eastern states.
A committee was established with the view to forming a national body. John Lynn was appointed chairman but unfortunately died before the first meeting held in Victoria in 1980.
Before this meeting, Sandy visited South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria to assist in starting state branches of the national FMDA.
Since then Sandy has been somewhat of an institution within the FMDA, serving not only the state body but also the national executive.
He has played a front role in most of the issues tackled by the association, including sales tax, tariffs, credit laws, occupational health and safety, towing of farm machinery and warranties.
He was also involved in a competition run by the Association to find a suitable logo for it. This came about by involving high schools throughout the state.
According to Sandy, the future of the FMDA is assured, with a strong membership and "plenty of issues" to resolve for the benefit of the industry".