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Government takes next steps to end wheat monopoly.

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The Hon Tony Burke, MP Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry


6 February 2008

Government takes next steps to end wheat monopoly

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Tony Burke, today announced the membership of an expert group that will advise on the Rudd Government’s reforms to wheat marketing.

“Today we are one more step down the path of dismantling the wheat export monopoly and moving ahead with industry changes that were promised during the election,” Mr Burke said.

South Australian grain grower John Crosby will chair the Wheat Industry Expert Group (IEG) that will make an important contribution to the Government’s wheat marketing reforms.

Mr Crosby is currently President of the Agribusiness Association of Australia and Chairman of the Quarantine and Exports Advisory Council, and operates a grain property at Lucindale, SA.

“Mr Crosby’s broad experience in all aspects of the industry, including over 30 years as a grower, means he will provide expert leadership through this important process,” Mr Burke said.

Other members of the group are Geoff Nalder, Graham Shields, David Thomas, Gail Dowie, Dan Mangelsdorf and Geoff Honey. (Details of IEG members attached)

“Members of the group bring a wealth of experience and expertise in the grains industry and I’m confident they will develop appropriate strategies for the best delivery of these services into the future,” Mr Burke said.

The IEG will advise the Government on industry development functions such as receival standards, generic promotion, strategic planning and varietal development.

Many of these have previously been provided by the current single desk holder, AWB International, which will no longer hold the monopoly for bulk exports once the Rudd Government’s wheat marketing reforms are implemented.

The Minister thanked the industry members who expressed interest in joining the advisory group.

“It was a very strong field with more than 100 applicants. While this made a decision on membership extremely difficult, it is great to see so many experienced people in the wheat industry interested in getting involved,” Mr Burke said.

“I encourage everyone in the industry to contribute to the process through commenting on the discussion paper.”

The IEG has been asked to prepare a public discussion paper by 20 March, 2008, and a final report to the Minister by 24 April, 2008.

John Crosby (Chair) Mr Crosby is a grain grower from Lucindale in South Australia with business interests in the import and export trade. He is currently the Chairman of the Quarantine and Export Advisory Council and President of the Agribusiness Association of Australia. Mr Crosby has held a number of senior positions in the industry including Senior Vice President of the National Farmers Federation, Vice President of NSW Farmers and senior management positions in Elders Ltd.

Gail Dowie Ms Dowie is a grain, pulse and oilseed grower from Central Queensland. She has extensive experience in the Queensland grains industry and has held senior positions in logistics, storage and handling, and marketing. Ms Dowie has also been a partner in a wheat seed production, processing and wholesaling business.

Geoff Honey Mr Honey is currently CEO of the National Agricultural Commodities Marketing Association (NACMA). He has extensive experience in developing wheat receival standards as well as developing the Professional Certificate in Grains Marketing, the first grains industry training program with formal tertiary qualifications.

Dan Mangelsdorf Mr Mangelsdorf is a farmer from West Wyalong in NSW and has significant knowledge and experience in the east coast grains industry. Mr Mangelsdorf is the current Chairman of the Grain Growers Association and Deputy Chairman of the major bulk handling company, GrainCorp Ltd.

Geoff Nalder Mr Nalder operates a fourth generation dryland farm at Swan Hill in Victoria. He is currently the President of the Victorian Farmers Federation Grains Group, having held various positions within the organisation. Mr Nalder is a long standing member of the industry with extensive knowledge in public policy and the wheat industry generally.

Graham Shields Mr Shields is a grain grower from WA, with 40 years experience in grain production on his family farm businesses. He is also a former principal of a grain trading company.

David Thomas Mr Thomas is the current Chairman of Barley Australia and previously held key positions with major grain companies including AusBulk and AWB Ltd. He has worked in the grain industry for over 30 years and brings impressive knowledge and skills to grain handling, storage and marketing.

Media contact: Andrew Gordon - 02 6277 7520 or 0419 685 953