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First accredited wheat export companies to be announced.

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The Hon. Tony Burke MP

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

First accredited wheat export companies to be announced

26 August 2008 DAFF08/108B

Five companies have been accredited to export wheat in Australia under the Rudd Government’s reformed bulk wheat export marketing system.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke today met with the Board of the new industry regulator, Wheat Exports Australia (WEA), which assesses and determines which companies are accredited to export wheat in bulk.

WEA is expected to release the names of the five companies shortly.

Mr Burke said WEA advised him it met yesterday to consider the applications for accreditation.

“WEA will continue to assess other applications at their meetings in the coming days and weeks,” Mr Burke said.

“The goal of this major economic reform was always to provide more choice for growers.

“I emphasised to WEA the importance of making decisions on applications for accreditation in a timely way to allow growers to make decisions about who will export their wheat.

“That’s why the Government announced additional resources for WEA when the legislation was passed in June.

“I am pleased that WEA has made this first announcement well ahead of the harvest.”

The Rudd Government is continuing to hold wheat marketing information sessions and workshops around Australia, to help growers understand how the new system can work for them.

Recent sessions have been held in:

• Western Australia - Geraldton, Three Springs, Dalwallinu, Dowerin and Mukinbudin; • NSW - Moree, Coonamble, Trangie, Parkes, Lake Cargelligo, West Wyalong, Cowra, Griffith and Finley; and • Queensland - Capella, Gindie, Talwood, Meandarra and Biloela.

Further sessions are planned for other locations in each of these states. Sessions will be held in South Australia in the coming weeks and in Victoria in September.

Officials from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry have also met with wheat buyers in key international markets, including in Japan, Egypt and the Republic of Korea. Further meetings are planned in India, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, China and Malaysia and possibly other markets.