GRDC review calls for change

11 Aug, 2014 02:00 AM
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GPA chairman Andrew Weidemann
We encourage all grain farmers to contact their representative organisation with their view
GPA chairman Andrew Weidemann

AN independent review into the governance of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has recommended the current government-run model needs to change.

Economic consultants Marsden Jacob completed the report for Grain Producers Australia (GPA), the current grower organisation responsible for overseeing GRDC as part of its role as the representative organisation (RO) under the Government Primary Industry and Energy Research and Development (PIERD) Act.

The report has advocated a major shake-up in the structure of GRDC, saying a move to either an industry-owned model, similar to those of Dairy Australia or Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA), or a hybrid model with increased industry-owned features in the current statutory model.

GPA chairman Andrew Weidemann said the review was about finding the structure for GRDC that delivered maximum efficiency to growers.

“Growers have called for this review to ensure that the structure of the GRDC is best placed to deliver the benefits their businesses continue to require,” he said.

Almost all the major grain grower organisations have participated in the governance review.

Chairman of the Western Australian Grains Group (WAGG) Doug Clarke said his group was advocating a change in the way GRDC was run.

“It is time for the GRDC to transition to an unlisted public company, limited by guarantee,” he said.

He said WAGG believed the current Statutory Corporation system had run its race and if left to continue would become increasingly inefficient.

“The new legislation will cause the GRDC to increasingly become more bureaucratic, less flexible, less responsive and less able to support innovation in its current guise.”

He said a WAGG model would have proportional voting by levy payers and would be based in Adelaide.

Mr Weidemann said the next step in the process would be getting grain grower groups together in September to develop a response to the report.

“We encourage all grain farmers to contact their representative organisation with their view on the report so that these discussions are thoroughly informed.”

FarmOnline
Gregor Heard

Gregor Heard

is the national grains writer for Fairfax Agricultural Media
Date: Newest first | Oldest first

READER COMMENTS

Deregul8
11/08/2014 7:31:39 AM

GRDC is a waste of hard earned grower money and sometimes, growers have to borrow from the bank to pay these levies. Sounds more like a taxation system to me. The classic malfunction of this system was the funding of the creation of the variety Mace with grower funds, which was then given to the seed companies who now double dip us all with a $3.50/t EPR. If GRDC generated the returns it claims it does for growers it should have no problem surviving without compulsorily acquiring blood sweat and tears from farmers.
Jock Munro
11/08/2014 8:14:55 AM

Growers would want to question the independence of the GRDC review. A very cosy relationship exists between GRDC,GPA and the State Farming organisations. To make matters worse,It is questionable whether GPA have any members at all despite having the Representative Organisation status..
Philip Downie
11/08/2014 11:30:45 AM

GRDC do not have enough people who have been around long enough to know what has been done before. Thus we get all these projects that have been done before getting another run.
seethelight
11/08/2014 2:32:53 PM

It will come as a surprise to nearly all growers/levy payers that they have been 'calling for a review'.Instead, the GRDC has selected a bought and paid for consultancy to produce a recommendation that the tight group of controlling cronies within the the GRDC has already decided upon.Not very useful at producing out- comes that contributors would voluntarily pay for ,the cronies are sensational at avoiding accountability and feathering their own nests.Here they are at their worst.Name any field where a structural change like this would be undertaken without a full forensic audit as a start?
mark2
12/08/2014 9:28:42 AM

for once I agree with you D8, don't know about having to borrow from the bank to pay the levies but the rest of you comment sums up my grievance with GRDC and the shift to PBR on the back of compulsorily obtained levy funding. Even the much touted NVT doesn't hold water in my book because the trials don't contain enough older varieties to get a decent comparison with the stuff we're being peddled now. between MLA and this mob you've got to put in a fair few hours before you get to your own share.
Deregul8
12/08/2014 12:29:25 PM

Imark if a grower does not produce enough grain to cover costs, he will invariably be borrowing money to pay the GRDC levies on the tonnes he barely produces. That has got to leave a bitter taste in the mouth of a levy payer. It values 'research' above farming families and their slowly decaying communities. It is effectively a cancer on the back of farmers because the levies are not producing research that is even meaningful at increasing farmer productivity. That is all coming from farmer trial and error. Lets face it there are some highly educated farmers & advisors around these days
Philip Downie
13/08/2014 12:31:09 PM

Mark how much are GRDC getting back from GT for Mace they put in the money back then and still do? As far as wheat quality goes GRDC are spending quite a lot on AEGI and WQA both are not doing what hey are supposed to ad GRDC lacks the skills for oversight. It is highly possible that milling could drop 3% and extensibility 2 cm in APH alone, within the rules and nobody has any idea why this could happen. I wonder what will happen when customers say we are not paying a premium for this rubbish, then watch the traders go broke.
Consolidated
13/08/2014 1:26:16 PM

They could always get it from the Ukraine where hyperinflation, spiralling interest rates and shortages of inputs, have ensured an exportable surplus that was underfed and under funded. The Oz basis is tellng you quality wheat is not freely available this year globally. No amount of research would have changed this. The weather does what it does

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