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Farmers Want Specialist Agency to Oversee Wheat Markets

25 July 2012

AUSTRALIA - NSW Farmers’ Association grains committee have called on the Federal Government to maintain oversight of the export wheat market through a specialised agency like Wheat Exports Australia.

The committee put up a motion which was passed at the association’s annual two-day conference in Chatswood, Sydney.

Committee chairman, Mr Mark Hoskinson, said the motion included support for a statutory framework for wheat exports to ensure a competitive market for farmers' grain and protect the Australia's reputation as a provider of quality wheat which sells for a premium.

Mr Hoskinson said that since the removal of the single desk arrangements, Wheat Exports Australia (WEA) had a role to play in protecting the international reputation of Australian wheat, ensuring accredited exporters were able to fairly negotiate access to port, and to provide some assurance to farmers who were working hard to produce the grain we export. He said that without WEA, the market could not adequately protect growers’ interests.

Under legislation before the Australian Parliament, WEA would have gone by the end of the year had it not been for the association and other state farming bodies which lobbied the Federal Government to have the legislation put on hold until an alternate solution is found.

NSW Farmers, in accord with other eastern state farming organisations, was successful in seeing the bill held back and has received the support from across the Parliament to seek amendments which will benefit grain farmers.

NSW Farmers’ CEO, Mr Matt Brand, said the association’s conference was an annual opportunity for grassroots members to represent their regions and to come together to develop policy for the organisation for the coming 12 month period.

“Now more than ever, farmers of NSW need a united voice because agriculture is facing many threats and unity of purpose and scale is extremely important for achieving outcomes for our members.”

Agriculture contributed more than A$14.5 billion or 3.4 per cent to the NSW economy in the year ended June 2011. There are more than 43,500 farm businesses in NSW with farming land covering more than 72 per cent of the state.

TheCropSite News Desk

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