Big holes in National Grains Australia plan: GPA

22 Apr, 2010 02:00 AM

RIVAL group Grain Producers Australia has slammed this week's proposition by NSW Farmers and WAFarmers to form a new peak body called National Grains Australia, saying there are several holes in the plan which need answering.

The new body proposed will be called National Grains Australia (NGA) and, different to the GPA proposal, will be a body established and supported by state farming organisations in Australia.

But spokesperson for the developers of the GPA concept, Pete Mailler, said questions surrounded the proposal as "so few of the details are being released".

"One of the most pressing things that must be asked is how are they going to fund it, when it is such a similar model, operations-wise, to GCA, which basically ran out of funds," Mr Mailler said.

He also said he did not believe an SFO-based organisation was the best way forward for representation of the grains industry.

"With GPA, we’ve tried to come up with an organisation for the era we are operating in.

"The SFO- based model is no longer necessarily relevant on the national scale.

"SFOs have a role and are important, and they do a lot of work on state issues and state frameworks, but the purpose that brought them to the fore in a national sense was the statutory marketing arrangement which is no longer applicable."

In terms of the claim that WAFF and NSWFA represented the bulk of grain growers through production in the two states, Mr Mailler said that declining membership of both organisations, and the emergence of rival organisations, such as the Pastoralists and Graziers Association (PGA) in the west, meant there was no clear mandate for the two groups to declare they acted for the majority of grain growers.

While talks between the authors of the two groups have repeatedly fallen down, Mr Mailler did not rule out further attempts to come up with a single plan, although he said there were big ideological differences between the two plans.

"We are trying to engage the groups on the issue, and they’ve come out with their own proposal and ideology, which seems to be based on perpetuating the importance of SFOs rather than providing a solid platform for the future, but there are a lot of points that are not contradictory, so we will continue to try and find some middle ground in discussions," he said.

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22/04/2010 4:18:06 AM

Who is Pete Mailler?
Dave 66
22/04/2010 5:36:07 AM

Realist what's that got to do with it? How to nationally represent the grains industry is the issue. Like most opponents to the Grain Producers Australia (GPA) model you want to play and attack the individual not the issue. If you have got at valid debate, don't hype on about the failed past. It is a case of put up or shut up. Offer up a valid alternative that addresses the future for grain growers instead of perpetuating an endless series uncertainty and doubt. SFOs don't have a monopoly mandate to blueprint the future.
22/04/2010 5:55:00 AM

Who cares who he is? I like what he is saying. By the way, he is an independent grower putting himself out there looking for a new way to deliver real value to the industry. How about you deal with the issue rather than trying to play the man.
Lyndon Pfeffer
22/04/2010 6:17:56 AM

I know who Pete Mailler is. I don't know you "realist", but gauging from your comments I would guess you are from around Rankin Springs. As Mark Hoskinson suggests, put your real name to your comments. Due to declining memberships and financial pressures, SFOs cannot sustainably fund a national body in their own right. GPA is a new model that can have all growers engage if they wish to. GPA realises that there is a need to align with other organisations in the grain industry supply chain and in areas which impact on the grains industry, through productivity, trade, biosecurity, transport and infrastructure and research and development to name a few. The grains industry has changed a lot in the past 10 -20 years. Some SFOs haven't kept pace with the changes. It is still a power and political struggle for some. NSW Farmers and WAFF have not engaged at a national level for three years, quite happy being outside the tent watching and waiting for GCA to fall over when in reality they were only hurting their own membership. The world has changed, dynamics have changed. There is more to national representation and its importance than a sole issue such as a single desk marketing system.
22/04/2010 6:52:36 AM

That is the problem folf - he is an individual farmer with no mandate who knows that if he were to stand up in a proper forum such as the NSW Farmers annual conference he would have no support.
Dave 66
22/04/2010 6:59:54 AM

Realist you know by now 80% of grain growers in NSW has given up wasting time with NSWFA. We are looking for future leaders, not a rehash of past failures.
22/04/2010 9:20:19 AM

Umm, all this personal stuff is nice and entertaining, but will not answer some basic questions for the NGA proponents: What is the budget? How does it operate? What areas of policy will it work in? How is policy developed? Will there be an office or how do state-based staff somehow operate a national body? How is it structured? If a board, how are the directors chosen (is it skills-based or a popularity contest)? Where does the money come from? SFOs are not flush, and don't say GRDC, since the Act they operate under precludes this, showing a lack of fundamental knowledge in regard to such matters, yet NGA wants to become a national body. How can two states say they will be national? If you have been working on it for months, how come there is no detailed business plan and only a few dot points in a scratchy MoU? The GPA model is out there, and even with a few faults, is pretty comprehensive in these details. A national body should be funded nationally by all. At least I would know what I was getting with them. As Mr Mailler asks, why would what has failed in the past, where SFOs ran the show, work now? Without a detailed plan from NGA we are asked to accept a 'pig in a poke'.
22/04/2010 11:23:43 AM

"We are looking for future leaders not a rehash of past failures". What a bloody joke, the Grains Council represented nothing but their own egos and pockets, they didn’t lead anything. The Grains Council rehash that you want is just the same, representing the interests of the big pigs in the industry and not the vast majority. The closest thing that farmers have to fair ground up democracy at the moment is NSW and WA SFOs. As Pfeffer says the GPA "can have all growers engage in it" is complete tripe with a voting loading for the big pigs which it is to be structured under, immediately rendering it obsolete and unrepresentative!!!!!
Western Canuck
22/04/2010 11:36:15 AM

Realist - all you need to know about Pete Mailler is that he has a plan. Where are the details of the WAFF/NSWFA model? How are they going to fund it? What about representation for growers who CHOOSE to not belong to a SFO? This NGA proposal is nothing but an attempt by SFO members of the NFF to give relevence to themselves and force farmers to join their organisations. There is an actual GPA imodel which is voluntary and open to all. All the NGA has is an MOU which they won't even publish!
22/04/2010 1:22:43 PM

Lyndon, where is Rankin's Springs? I know all about you though. You and your colleagues debauched the Grains Council by not representing growers on the single desk issue. You are now on target to destroy your own State Fram Organisations. I know Andrew Broad is having trouble with Weidermann and Amery - what is the President of AgForce saying to you? Your agri-political career is a real train wreck and people like you only advance up the ladder due to apathy. There will be a day of reckoning for you and your destructive colleagues.
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