WA, SA groups committed to grain reform

28 Aug, 2009 02:00 AM
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PGA Western Graingrowers chairman Rick Wilson (left), and SAFF Grains Committee chairman Michael Schaeffer, all smiles after last week's meeting at the PGA offices in Perth, where they discussed a SA and WA model for industry representation with WA Grain Group chairman Doug Clarke.
PGA Western Graingrowers chairman Rick Wilson (left), and SAFF Grains Committee chairman Michael Schaeffer, all smiles after last week's meeting at the PGA offices in Perth, where they discussed a SA and WA model for industry representation with WA Grain Group chairman Doug Clarke.

GRAINGROWER groups used the Grains West Expo in Perth last week as an opportunity to discuss the future of national grains industry representation.

Leaders of the South Australian Farmers' Federation (SAFF), the Pastoralists and Graziers' Association (PGA) and the WA Grain Group (WAGG) met on the second day to discuss their common concerns on national representation.

As Australia's biggest grain exporting states, WA and SA are looking to take the lead in the formation of a new grains industry group to address common policy issues.

Following the meeting a joint statement was issued to the media.

In it, PGA Western Graingrowers chairman Rick Wilson, SAFF Grains Committee chairman Michael Schaeffer, and WAGG chairman Doug Clarke, said they were keen to see Australia's emerging deregulated grain market developed in a positive way with all sectors of the industry.

"We are universally opposed to any repeat of the old industry models that saw industry monopolies supporting those producer bodies that best represented their interests," they said.

"Graingrowing has moved into an exciting new phase and we do not wish to see the future prospects of our graingrower members hampered by outmoded policies and restraints.

"By the same token there is already a need for industry coordination and representation on policy issues common to our States and other sectors of the industry."

Although details were limited, the three leaders said "in-principle" resolutions had been agreed to at the meeting, and would now be taken away for discussion by the committees of the respective organisations.

It is understood the meeting agreed on the need to form effective national representation, involving all sectors of the industry with producers represented on a regional basis.

The pending demise of the Grains Council of Australia (GCA), the industry's former peak body, has highlighted the need to develop an effective national representative body.

However, the GCA claims it still has a role to play, but with some major modifications to its current structure and personnel.

Those adjustments are expected to take place in the near future.

GCA vice-chairman Jamie Smith was also in Perth for the Expo, where the SA farmer was attempting to drum up support for a revamped representative body.

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