WEMA angry at Burke

30 Jan, 2008 09:00 PM
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WAFarmers grains council president and Wheat Export Marketing Alliance (WEMA) deputy chairman Derek Clauson said he was left angry and frustrated after a meeting with new Federal Agriculture Minister Tony Burke last week.

Mr Clauson said he had hoped to find out more about WEMA’s future during an informal meeting with Mr Burke but was no more enlightened after the meeting.

He said despite some informal discussion, Mr Burke could not see past the Labor Government’s policy position and showed little interest in hearing what he had to say about the benefits of an orderly marketing system.

Mr Clauson said Mr Burke did not have any specific details on the new wheat marketing policy, to help him see what could potentially go wrong with it.

“We want to salvage an orderly selling system for bulk wheat exports but we don’t know any more details on the ALP’s policy now than we did last week,” Mr Clauson said.

“We want to establish an entity that will provide growers with a safe and viable alternative for selling their wheat under the new arrangements.

“But Mr Burke said he would be an honourable man and the ALP would maintain its pre-election promises, even though the details of it were still very vague.

“He told me if I wanted to know more about the new policy I could read newspaper clippings or read the policy the ALP published on their web site.

“But really there’s not enough information there to satisfy me or the vast majority of growers who support orderly marketing.”

Mr Clauson said he was extremely disillusioned by the fact that the ALP’s wheat marketing policy had been developed without proper consultation and had arrived at the stage where it was now in the process of being implemented.

He said WAFarmers did not participate in any discussion to develop the policy.

“We were never given the opportunity to provide proper input into the ALP’s policy on wheat marketing,” he said.

“They just turned up before the election and shoved it down our throats.

“It was all said and done before we had a chance to have a proper say and that disappoints me greatly because most growers support orderly marketing, especially here in WA.

“And what pains me and other wheat growers the most is knowing that the policy has been developed to benefit PGA members and around 15-20 marketers, at the expense of wheat growers.”

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