WEMA keeps fighting

23 Jan, 2008 09:00 PM
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THE five remaining members of the Wheat Export Marketing Alliance (WEMA) will continue to push for an orderly wheat marketing system to continue despite a gloomy outlook.

WEMA’s latest attempt to retain the single desk under a grower-owned and controlled co-operative contradicts recent public statements from new Federal Agriculture Minister Tony Burke.

During his limited media appearances since being appointed, Mr Burke has confirmed Labor’s pre-election stance on wheat export marketing, saying the new competitive policy would not be altered, despite pleas from single desk supporters.

The Government’s firm pre-election promises and clear statements since then have forced many critics to questions WEMA’s ongoing role in view of Canberra’s reinvigorated wheat export policy.

The purpose of the Wheat Growers Association (WGA), which was designed to maximise returns to growers through the AWB-managed National Pool, is also expected to come under the microscope once the single desk is dismantled.

The WGA also holds a position on WEMA with the remaining four state farming organisations from WA, NSW, SA and QLD.

The Victorian Farmers Federation pulled out of WEMA recently saying its charter did not extend to lobbying.

Meanwhile, WA Agriculture Minister Kim Chance has thrown his weight behind the single desk’s retention and called for the AWB to keep its position as National Pool manager for next harvest.

Mr Chance said the decision should not be rushed and that time had run out for changes to be made for marketing next season’s crop.

“We have about 100 days before the 2008 crop will be sown,” Mr Chance said.

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