MP storing oats at non-network site

By Shannon Beattie
Updated December 15 2021 - 1:29am, first published December 14 2021 - 9:30pm
Labor Agricultural Region MP and local farmer Darren West was given permission by CBH to use the de-commissioned Jennacubbine receival site to store his oats.

QUESTIONS have been raised by local farmers over favouritism being granted by the CBH Group after it was revealed that politician and farmer Darren West had been given permission to use the de-commissioned Jennacubbine receival site to store his oats.

The Labor Agricultural Region MP said he sought permission from CBH to use the non-network site as there were no oat receivable sites open within 100 kilometres of Jennacubbine at this time.

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"Our family farming business has entered an agreement with CBH to store oats at the bulkhead at the decommissioned Jennacubbine site," Mr West said.

"This is a temporary arrangement and we have permission to enter the site.

"I appreciate CBH working with growers to find common sense solutions during this record harvest and hope that this co-operation will continue into the future with all growers."

However Jennacubbine grower Scott McPherson said all growers were doing it tough this year given the State's record crop and every single person in the area had faced issues with segregations at various sites being closed.

"A lot of people have had to organise for large trucks to take oats to the metropolitan delivery site, while for barley they're carting from the likes of Goomalling to York just to find a stack for it," Mr McPherson said.

"I don't know if it's special treatment from CBH or if it's just arrogance on Darren's behalf, but I thought the job of a politician was to serve the people and to have him thinking he is above everyone else is simply un-Australian."

CBH acting chief operations officer Mick Daw said they understand that the unprecedented volume of grain was placing significant pressure on everyone involved with harvest.

"CBH is working hard to assist all growers where possible and from time-to-time is able to offer growers assistance with specific short-term storage issues," Mr Daw said.

"In this instance, the grower was given permission by CBH to store oats at Jennacubbine, a non-network site for a very short period of time.

"As originally planned, we are working with the grower for them to remove the oats as soon as possible."

While CBH had confirmed permission had been granted to Mr West to use the site, Mr McPherson believes that if you want storage, you have to pay for it or build a silo, not use a site that no one else has access to.

"CBH says that Jennacubbine is a condemned site, so if it's not suitable for shareholders to deliver grain to, then it's not suitable for any private farmers," he said.

"One has to wonder who is responsible for the insurance if there is an accident or damages done from turning trucks on a bulkhead."

Farm Weekly asked CBH Group if Mr West was paying any fees to use the site and if any other growers were allowed to use the Jennacubbine site, however the co-operative declined to comment on the matter further.

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