Grain Producers Australia is calling on political leaders to take grower concerns more seriously, when ultimately considering and delivering reforms, to improve and optimise grain market competition.
GPA Chair, Barry Large, said the Federal Government has today announced the second review of the Wheat Port Code that’s scheduled to sunset on 1 October 2024. HERE
But Mr Large said growers had been let down by the failure to implement common sense and pragmatic reforms delivered in the Code’s last review process, which started six years ago.
The discussion paper on the 2023 review was released today and admits that the recommendations from the 2017–18 review – including those GPA submitted for growers – won’t be implemented.
“A report on the first review was released in 2018 which made 12 recommendations for government to consider on how the Wheat Port Code could be improved with some technical amendments, including extending it to cover all grains,” he said.
“Two years later in October 2020, the Australian Government finally responded, supporting 11 of the review’s 12 recommendations. The discussion paper released today says that implementation of these improvements was further delayed by the 2022 federal election and change of government.
“Now, the current Agriculture Minister, Murray Watt has determined that – given significant time has passed since the first review was undertaken – these recommendations may be out of date, and it’s better to commence a second review of the Code rather than amend it, to implement potentially outdated recommendations.
“These delays are simply not good enough. GPA would expect, as would all growers and stakeholders, that if we’re going to take time out to make our views known – including on serious matters such as market transparency – government will actually follow through and finish the job.”
GPA Southern Director, Andrew Weidemann, said the extended feedback process and timing for the current review was welcome, with the submission deadline moved beyond harvest, out to 31 January 2024.
But he said the government needed to keep its promises this time and follow through on its statement that stakeholder feedback will help determine the Code’s future role and operation.
“Growers and industry can be justifiably cynical that the time and energy we contribute again to this review process that’s designed to make business improvements which increase productivity and sustainability, will be a total waste of time – but we’re happy to be proven wrong,” he said.
GPA’s submission to the first review supported the Code’s continuation, with improvements to help protect growers and market operations, with improved transparency and accountability measures.