Global agenda on agriculture

22 Jan, 2003 10:00 PM
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SPEAKERS from the United States, Canada, the UK and Zimbabwe have been invited to give an international perspective to agriculture and private property rights at the PGA's Convention 2003 on February 27.

PGA President Barry Court said he was delighted that the US Ambassador to Australia, J Thomas Schieffer, had accepted his invitation to present an opening address on the proposed free trade agreement between Australia and the US, following the official opening by National Farmers' Federation president Peter Corish.

This year's keynote speaker is Ron Greentree, chairman of both the NSW marketer/handler GrainCorp and the rapidly growing Grain Growers Association.

Ron has been closely involved with the Accenture report which strongly recommends separation of AWB International from AWB Ltd, and a number of key reforms endorsed by the PGA.

Another key speaker on grain will be Ken Dillen, a champion of the Canadian Prairie farmers' fight to market their own grain. A status Indian, and former steelworker union boss, Ken has joined others including jailed farmer Andrew McMechan in breaking the Ontario Wheat Board monopoly, and is now pitted in a campaign against the Canadian Wheat Board.

"Ken will have some serious messages for Australian graingrowers," Mr Court said.

Ken will join former Zimbabwean farmer Kevin Tonkin, now of Wongan Hills, and other international guests giving a global perspective on agriculture and private property rights in a key session to be chaired by Peter Corish.

Planning and Infrastructure Minister Alannah McTiernan, has been invited to discuss the latest developments on pastoral lease security, and is expected to come under close questioning on the latest proposed excisions and exclusions of pastoral land.

Newly elected WA director of Australian Wool Innovation, Kevin Bell, and Grain Biotech Australia chief executive Dr Ian Edwards will lead the afternoon session on commodities to be chaired by PGA Economics chairman Lynne Johnston.

Ian's company GBA has developed Australia's first salt-tolerant wheat cultivar, which may also be tolerant to frost. Other speakers are still being confirmed but can be expected to set high levels of interest.

Mr Court's appointment for his eighth term as president will be announced at the Annual General Meeting of PGA members, at a luncheon meeting on Wednesday, February 26.

This will follow a series of concurrent workshops in the morning on risk profiling, rural telecommunications and internet access, and pastoral excisions and exclusions. PGA chairmen will present their annual reports and discuss issues during the business session on Wednesday afternoon.

The annual convention welcome cocktail party will be at 5:30pm on Wednesday and the annual Convention dinner and dance featuring presentation of the Wesfarmers' Rural Achiever award, will start at 7pm on Thursday.

Creche facilities are being provided this year to cater for the PGA's growing number of young family members.

Inquiries and bookings for the Convention should be directed to the PGA on 9479 4599, fax 9277 7311 or email pga@pgaofwa.org.au

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