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Australia Single-Desk Wheat Moves Still Questioned

One member of the country's parliament is calling for a survey of all wheat growers to determine the future of the export market.

A poll of all Australian wheat growers on the future marketing of export wheat is still needed, despite the appointment of the Wheat Export Marketing Consultation Committee, according to Independent Member of Parliament, Tony Windsor.

Windsor believes that whatever recommendations are given to the Government by the Consultative Committee, there still needs to be a poll of all growers so that those in the industry are given the opportunity to have their say formally recorded.

"The appointment of the Wheat Export Marketing Consultation Committee by the Australian Government should only be a step in the process of delivering a long-term solution to the export marketing of Australian wheat," Windsor said.

"The current single desk system has served Australia very well giving growers confidence and security when dealing on corrupt international wheat markets.

"Any changes to the current process need to be accepted and supported by Australian wheat growers so that they can continue to grow wheat with confidence that they will be competitive with other wheat growing countries.

"To do this, I again call for a proper poll of all growers."

Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile last year committed to a grower poll, but later backed away from the idea in preference to a consultation process. But Windsor is concerned that the report by the Consultative Committee will not truly represent the attitude of wheat growers.

"The Consultative Committee is made up of people who share the Government's view of the free market delivering the best outcomes for Australia," he said.

"All of the Committee members come from large corporate operations and I question their capacity to walk in the shoes of the family farmer who needs the benefits offered by single desk export marketing of their wheat."

Windsor is, however, urging wheat growers to participate energetically in the consultation process.

More information on the Wheat Export Marketing Consultation Committee is available on the www.daffa.gov.au/wheat

SOURCE: Rural Press National News Bureau, Parliament House, Canberra

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