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Friday, 10 May 1985
Page: 1723

Senator COLLARD(9.51) —I am not sure who is moving which amendment, but the amendment moved by me has the same effect as Senator Macklin's proposed amendment-three other members rather than four. As I understand it, we now have the wording right. I will just read it out so that everybody is sure of what we are doing. The amendment that I moved and Senator Macklin supported-it has the same effect as the amendment that Senator Macklin was to have moved separately-reads in part:

3 other members each of whom has had extensive experience at a high level in finance, marketing or grain movement logistics.

The words 'finance, marketing and grain movement logistics' pick up the further amendment which was circulated by the Government. This, as has been indicated, serves to bring the number of specialist members on the Australian Wheat Board down from four to three, as requested by the wheat growers, and makes sure that the wheat growers have a majority on the Wheat Board.

I notice that many of the primary industry Bills coming through seek, in a not too subtle manner, to give the Government a fair measure of control on all these boards which pertain in one way or another to rural industry. The Opposition does not support the thrust of those moves. As to the Wheat Board in particular, as I indicated in my speech in the second reading debate, no taxpayers' money whatsoever is involved. The Board is a completely wheat grower-funded organisation. It is funded by levies on the growers. An underwriting scheme is in place but it is longer than anybody can remember since taxpayers' money was used in any underwriting schemes. It is essential that the wheat growers themselves maintain a majority on that Board. That is what this amendment is all about. As to whether the Board needs three or four specialists, sometimes we can have too many specialists on these organisations. In this instance I think three will be more than adequate and will maintain the wheat growers' domination of the Board.