CBH board director and Western Australian grain farmer Wally Newman, Newdegate, says Wheat Exports Australia (WEA) is costing the co-op’s members more than $1 million annually in administration costs and that’s without adding the 22 cents a tonne levy also imposed on WA growers to fund the regulatory watchdog.
“Being the major wheat exporting State, bar none, we incur the majority of costs for running the WEA and it’s providing a hindrance to the industry now, not a single benefit,” he said.
“The WEA is a bureaucratic cost on industry for no net benefit.”
Mr Newman said WA bore the full brunt of the single desk’s administration costs.
He said the single desk provided a floor in the market and was excellent service for east coast growers.
But WA growers were virtually subsidising it to the tune of about $40 to $60 a tonne.
The WEA creates a similar situation, he said, with no beneficial service to the industry but a cost.
“The sooner it’s gone the better off our growers will be,” he said.
Mr Newman agreed with PGA Western Graingrowers chairman John Snooke who said last week that it was now high time to deregulate wheat exports totally and remove all politics and agri-politics from the wheat industry.
“John’s right on the money and it’s a powerful voice when all of the different industry groups come together,” he said.
“Industry leaders like John Snooke and Bob Iffla, who are normally on totally opposite sides of the philosophical or ideological fence, are now 100pc in agreement.
“That’s a powerful message to our political leaders, for them to also represent their constituents and reflect growers’ views in Canberra.”