Lake Grace anger at AWB

26 Feb, 2003 10:00 PM
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IF the recent round of AWB grower meetings were meant as a public relations exercise, it backfired badly at Lake Grace.

Two growers contacted Farm Weekly to express their anger that the meeting started 20 minutes late and question time was cut short at the end.

Newedegate grower Helen McDonald said AWB representatives failed to answer any questions adequately. She said several producers vented their disappointment after the meeting.

"People came to the meeting with a lot of questions on a wide range of issues but few got to a chance to speak because the AWB representatives took up most of the time with longwinded speeches," Mrs McDonald said.

"And they failed to supply adequate explanations for the few questions that they did answer.

"I believe they could answer our concerns simply, they just don't want to. They try to treat everybody like idiots."

Mrs McDonald said neither managing director Andrew Lindberg nor chairman Brendan Stewart could explain to the meeting why AWB had paid the highest dividend of the of the top 100 companies in Australia, when growers were suffering from the drought.

She said there was also confusion about the extended pool, the increase in salaries and bonuses for the top executives and negotiations with Co-operative Bulk Handling

"Brendan Stewart complained about negative publicity dragging the industry down," she said.

"But I told them 'if you can't even satisfy a group of farmers from the Lake Grace region, how can you expect to stop negative publicity'.

"If they get into a partnership if CBH, where will we be.

"We had a Wheat Board that we trusted and there were concerns that privatisation would have an adverse effect. Now it has come back to bite us on the bum."

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