Put up or shut up

28 Jun, 2007 07:00 PM

FORMER Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) Western Graingrowers chairman Gary McGill has challenged single desk supporters to put their wheat, and their money, where their mouths are.

Mr McGill, a long-serving PGA grains and executive committee member and champion of wheat export deregulation, wants Australian farmers, grower organisations and Federal Politicians to demonstrate their unambiguous commitment to the single desk, during the process of setting up a new entity to manage the nation¹s bulk wheat exports.

Following the demise of AWB¹s management of the national wheat pool after the Cole inquiry, the Fed-eral Govern-ment has given the Wheat Ex-port Mar-keting Alliance (WEMA) until March 1 next year to establish a new grower owned and controlled single desk co-operative.

But while the mechanics of the new entity are still in debate, Mr McGill believes many arguments on the future of wheat export marketing would be settled if growers had the option of committing capital towards the new entity¹s establishment and by taking out long-term loyalty delivery contracts.

³If there is in fact 70pc-80pc of growers as claimed, who want an entity to be the grain marketing company that is entitled to their sell bulk wheat out of Australia, no matter what shape it appears in, then those people, wherever they are, should stand up and put their wheat, and their money, where their mouths are,² Mr McGill said.

Mr McGill said the people who argued the single desk extracted premiums from the market, was strategic in its ability to market grain and prevented Australian wheat from competing against Australian wheat on the world market, should put those views to the test.

He singled out aspiring National Party O¹Connor candidate Phil Gardner, Wheat Growers Association chairman Bob Iffla and WAFarmers president Trevor de Landgrafft.

³If growers, agri-politicians and aspiring politicians want to believe that the single desk can do all those things then this should be only their business, but the fundamental essence of what they are saying is nothing but nonsense and entirely arguable,² Mr McGill said.

³But the only way to truly test if there really is 80pc support for this new entity is by the export wheat producers of Australia committing their wheat to this entity of their choice, through long-term contractual arrangements.

³The new entity can be grower owned, a de-merged AWB International (AWBI), whatever they want to call the damn thing, but those people who want it should be made to commit to it.²

Mr McGill said 80pc of growers who supported single desk marketing would potentially provide a considerable amount of tonnage for the new entity.

³That volume of wheat, let¹s say around 80pc of the annual harvest, should be enough to command, as they believe, some market presence but of course that¹s nonsense too we all know it doesn¹t really do that,² he said.

Mr McGill said a commitment of 10 years should be made because the farmers who did not want a single desk system were forced to use it in perpetuity, through legislation.



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