WA and SA consider grains alliance

26 Jun, 2009 02:00 AM
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SAFF grains council chairman, Michael Schaeffer, is open to the idea of SA and WA going it alone to form a new peak national representative body for the grains industry, so long as it serves an effective role. However, he's not
SAFF grains council chairman, Michael Schaeffer, is open to the idea of SA and WA going it alone to form a new peak national representative body for the grains industry, so long as it serves an effective role. However, he's not "dancing on the GCA's grave", just yet.

THE South Australian Farmers Federation (SAFF) is keeping the door ajar and an open mind to the possibility of linking up with WA graingrower groups, to create a new national representative body to replace the fading Grains Council of Australia (GCA).

WA grower groups have already approached the SAFF, to gauge their interest in forming an alliance that may not include representation from grower groups in NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and QLD.

The issue will be tabled at a meeting of the SAFF grains council this week, during policy discussions on national representation.

The GCA recently confirmed it would begin the process of winding down its grains industry activities, unless a last minute rescue package is delivered.

The grains industry's peak, national, representative body, has rattled the donation tin in Canberra and has also approached the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) for support.

Other approaches have been made to form beneficial partnerships with relevant industry groups.

GCA has suffered financial hardship in recent times, instigated by declining sponsorship and membership revenue.

It suffered a heavy financial loss of about $356,000 in the past year, and was heading towards another deficit before the board decided to begin the winding down process.

The WA Grains Group (WAGG) and the Council of Grain Grower Organisations (COGGO) currently represent WA on the GCA.

WAFarmers split from the GCA in 2007, due to its differences over the GCA's handling of the single desk issue, along with NSWFarmers.

With a last minute reprieve seeming highly unlikely, grower groups have already started debating the possible shape and structure of a new national representative body.

The PGA and WAGG have both expressed support for the idea of WA linking with SA to form a national organisation, due to their common export market interests.

SAFF grains council chairman Michael Schaeffer said he was open to the idea of SA and WA going it alone, so long as the new body served an effective role.

However, Mr Schaefer said he was "not dancing on the GCA's grave yet".

"The GCA still has time left to work things out," he said.

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READER COMMENTS

Qld
27/06/2009 5:41:10 AM

How can something between WA and SA be considered national? The federal government wants a united voice to consult with. Calling yourself national immediately shows up the false pretences. Your excluding Qld, NSW, Vic and Tassie. The governments just love division because it lets them off the hook to listen to our concerns and they do as they please. Why do you continue to feed guff to the media which is not showing a positive way forward for all involved. The grains industry has been hammered virtually to death by division. It can respond to the economic downturn quicker than most other sectors and industry representatives need to work on the positives and sell that message. Get your house in order; talk to all of industry players across Australia to find solutions. If states or groups can't agree with the majority of views you can still have an opinion, but why should it bring disrepute to all grain producers.

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