WAFarmers and SAFF in 'alliance'

22 Jan, 2003 10:00 PM
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WAFARMERS and the South Australian Farmers Federation have announced an alliance to boost trade and export opportunities to their respective memberships.

WAFarmers claims the focus of the alliance will be on "influencing the food chain in order to increase dollar returns to farmers".

Pointing out that the association is an alliance and not a merger, WAFarmers president Colin Nicholl said the alliance was "in no way" competiting with the National Farmers Federation.

"South Australia and WA each have a heavy focus on exports and many common interests, such as taxation reform and industrial relations," Mr Nicholl said.

"Not only will this agreement boost our lobbying power, it will promote efficiencies by enabling the sharing of resources without duplicating the workload."

A business council, the South-Western Agribusiness Alliance, will be established with representatives from associated rural industries.

Mr Nicholl acknowledged that the move was a broad new push to extend membership and encompass allied rural industries.

"SAFF is having difficulty maintaining its membership with NFF and it is the intention of WAFarmers to get back into the NFF as soon as it is financially responsible to do so," he said.

"The alliance is not about breaking down unity in farmers' voices. NFF is the way to go."

Mr Nicholl said that the alliance would not compromise the voice of the Western Australian membership.

"We will be collectively lobbying on issues where we have a common interest, but where WAFarners and SAFF opinions differ, WAFarmers will present a single voice."

The business council will be modeled on the Food Council of Australia, where "business competitors are working together," Mr Nicholl said.

The charter for the business council will be presented at a meeting in South Australia next month.

While the membership for the council was not yet final, Mr Nicholl said agribusinesses such as AWB were likely to be represented, as well as animal production and horticulture.

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