THE Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) has lashed out at the Grains Licensing Authority (GL

14 Dec, 2006 07:00 PM
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Mr Bradley said he welcomed a move to open up barley markets across the border but lamented the lack of freedom afforded to barley marketing in WA.

He said the abolition of the barley single desk in South Australia would allow that state¹s barley producers to achieve higher prices than those attainable in Victoria and WA this year.

³No longer will malt barley prices in South Australia be less than feed barley in Victoria, as they were earlier this year,² Mr Bradley said.

³However, every silver lining has a cloud.

³The private traders will find it a lot easier to do their barley business in South Australia, as opposed to WA where they are encumbered by the inflexibilities of the GLA system.²

Mr Bradley said he found it interesting that the model for barley marketing reform endorsed in South Australia was the same model for reform proposed by the PGA for wheat industry reform as presented in the ACIL Tasman report Marketing Australian Wheat.

ABB Grain will be stripped of its barley export monopoly early next year if the South Australian Government passes legislation based on recommendations made in a South Australian Barley Marketing Working Group report.

The analysis signalled a massive industry shake-up on delivery to the South Australian State Government and South Australian Farmers¹ Federation Grains Council last week.

It calls for deregulation of South Australia¹s bulk export market during a three-year transition period.

South Australian Agriculture Minister Rory McEwen will present the working group¹s report to Cabinet in January for approval before it goes to Parliament.

³The report is an enormous credit to the working group,² Mr McEwen said.

³They came together as individuals but have presented a strong collective view.

³It is not over yet ‹ the devil is in the detail.

³The State Government now has a series of sound recommendations to consider when we look at legislative changes in this area.²

The report recommended that South Australia¹s export barley marketing arrangements be deregulated after licensing accredited exporters through the Essential Services Commission of South Australia (ESCOSA), as independent regulator.

Working group chairman Neil Andrew said using ESCOSA to act as an independent regulator would be cost-effective and practical.

ESCOSA oversees the functioning of South Australia¹s key services, including gas, water, ports and railways.

The working group recommended that ESCOSA should apply a licensing role in the market using its National Agricultural Commodities Marketing Association membership and other prudential testing. That way it could ensure payment security and maintain the reputation of quality in the barley industry.

An extensive education program for growers about the new barley marketing arrangements was also recommended.

The South Australian Farmers Federation (SAFF) Grains Council unanimously agreed to adopt the report¹s seven recommendations.

SAFF described the report as the most effective way forward for bulk export barley marketing in South Australia in light of the changed political and industry environment.

SAFF Grains Council chairman Brett Roberts said the report should put the issue to bed.

³It¹s been a festering issue for about 10 years and now it¹s finally getting somewhere,² Mr Roberts said.

³We had to face the political reality that it¹s up to the government to determine what it does with that legislation in the best interest of the whole community.

³Current legislation didn¹t fit the national reform agenda so it had to change.²

Mr Roberts visited WA earlier this year to have a closer look at how the GLA functioned.

ABB Grains board member Trevor Day said it was too early to make specific comment on the recommendations.

Mr Day said ABB Grain would not apologise for defending the single desk in the past but would fit in with any new legislation.

³Given that there will be a change of legislation which we have not seen and has yet to be passed, we will work within that legislation to the benefit of growers as much as we can,² he said.

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