Internet campaign against AWB

26 Sep, 2007 09:00 PM
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EAST coast grain marketing and bulk handling company GrainCorp is behind an anonymous new website and a series of newsletters that have been distributed recently across the industry attacking AWB and single desk marketing.

AWB is considering legal action over the campaign while other critics are also outraged over the alleged inaccuracies of its content and a lack of attribution to sources.

The Wheat08 newsletters had been sent to media and wheat growers across the nation during the past month and the site came on line last week.

Its opening page said it was created provide background about Australia’s monopoly wheat export system but it did not explain who is behind it.

The site’s blurb said it was a resource for the increasing number of individuals and organisations across the wheat industry who wanted the system reformed.

GrainCorp secretary Nigel Hart confirmed to Farm Weekly that the domain name for the site — wheat08.com — was registered in his company’s name but would not identify who else was involved in the campaign.

“Our company has been saying for some time now where we think the industry would benefit from most with reform,” Mr Hart said.

“That’s what is reflected in Wheat08 and the website.

“The newsletters are being used to keep help growers informed by using facts.

“We are not the only organisation that feels this way.”

Mr Hart said he was not perturbed by allegations that Wheat08 was using false information.

He refused to comment when asked why it was not attributing its information to an author or any organisation.

“That’s the nature of the beast,” he said.

“We do have a name, it’s called Wheat08, and the people behind it are like minded in their views of the grains industry.”

Mr Hart declined to comment when asked for the reasons for being anonymous.

“Let’s talk about the real facts and what the industry really should be focussed on,” he said.

“This information has credibility and the facts speak for themselves.

“The single desk comes at a high cost to growers and is a business model that is not achieving the returns for growers that it says it does.

“We believe that what we are doing is correct in principle because growers want access to the most efficient supply chain they can.”

AWB chief executive officer Gordon Davis said he would consider legal action once it was confirmed exactly who was the site’s author.

Mr Davis said the material contained a number of factual errors but declined to comment on exactly what they were because it was coming from an anonymous and unsourced location.

“It (Wheat08) has only just emerged but if they are using factually incorrect material we have an obligation to demand that it is corrected,” Mr Davis said.

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