Closure chaos

18 Dec, 2007 09:00 PM
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PASTORALISTS and Graziers Association (PGA) executive committee member Gary McGill has lashed out at the previous federal government and the Wheat Export Marketing Alliance (WEMA), blaming them for the chaos caused by CBH's wheat pool closure last week.

"I want to dredge up the past because it is necessary," Mr McGill said.

"It will assist with understanding the angst and what's happening to wheat growers now."

Mr McGill said the Coalition government's adherence to "bloody minded political ideology" and former prime minister John Howard's failure to provide clear leadership on the wheat marketing issue were directly responsible for the problems currently faced by many growers.

He said even though the Australian Labor Party (ALP) had given the Coalition a comprehensive flogging at the polling booths and there was little doubt the ALP would implement its new wheat marketing policy in time for next harvest, farmers should not forget those responsible for the mess the ALP was cleaning up.

CBH estimated the harvest was 90pc over when their wheat pool was shut mid-week in a move designed to protect the returns of those growers who had already delivered.

The decision came as a surprise to CBH staff and directors who after an urgent boardroom discussion, which included a presentation from senior staff at around 11am last Wednesday, forced the move.

After the pool closure was announced, calls to CBH's grower services centre doubled.

Many growers, including several board members in the middle of their harvests, failed to deliver their wheat to CBH's pool, forcing them to take their remaining crops to other grain marketers including the AWB.

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