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Grains Council single desk initiative to be applauded.



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Gavan O'Connor MP MEMBER FOR CORIO SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE AND FISHERIES

5 April 2006

GRAINS COUNCIL SINGLE DESK INITIATIVE TO BE APPLAUDED

The Grains Council of Australia (GCA) is to be congratulated for having the courage to take a proactive stance in promoting discussion and consideration about future options for the marketing of Australian wheat.

Unlike the National Party, GCA has recognised that it is not in the interests of Australian wheat growers to ignore the fact that, in the wake of the “oil for food” scandal, there will almost certainly have to be some changes in the way Australia markets wheat internationally.

Labor has been a strong supporter of our current single desk marketing arrangements for over 60 years and it remains Labor policy that the single desk should remain in place while ever is can be shown to deliver a benefit to Australian wheat growers.

The options contained in the discussion paper released today by the Grains Council preserve the most essential elements of the single desk while addressing many of the weaknesses in current arrangements that have been exposed during the “oil for food” scandal.

My colleague Kevin Rudd and I have been discussing the future of wheat marketing at meetings with growers around the country.

During these meetings it has become clear that, while growers overwhelmingly support single desk marketing, many are open to making changes to the current arrangements to improve transparency and accountability, cut supply chain and administrative costs, and increase grower control.

I look forward to continuing these consultations and to discussing the model outlined by GCA today with growers around Australia.

GCA, and especially Chairman Murray Jones, have shown real leadership in these very difficult circumstances.

Contact Gavan O’Connor on 0418 518 528 Bernie Eades on 0419 664 016