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Final milestone passed on wheat export reforms

Australia’s reformed and fully operational bulk wheat export marketing system has finally taken effect from this week.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke welcomed the news that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) had approved the grain port access arrangements of CBH, GrainCorp and Ausbulk (the wholly owned subsidiary of ABB Grain).

It is the final milestone in the delivery of the reforms, which will ensure fair access to port infrastructure for all wheat growers and exporters.

The ACCC said the access arrangements ‘will unlock constraints at grain ports, to the benefit of the overall Australian economy.’

Twenty-two companies are now accredited for bulk wheat exports under the reformed system.

Mr Burke today visited CBH’s Geraldton port export facilities, to inspect a $32 million upgrade of the wheat storage silos, and met with local wheat growers.

The upgrade follows a record crop last year for Geraldton wheat growers and the fourth largest on record for Western Australia.

“This milestone marks the end of the transition period and the start of the new, fully reformed bulk wheat export marketing system,” Mr Burke said.

“We have officially opened the door to new opportunities for our wheat growers, including in the major West Australian wheat belt.

“This will ensure our wheat growers help to meet the global demand for food.

“I was pleased to visit CBH’s facilities and discuss the positive outlook for the West Australian wheat industry which was worth $2.8 billion in 2008-09.

“At the same time, wheat growers in parts of eastern Australia continue to face some difficult conditions and are hoping for rain.”

In 2008-09 the total Australian wheat export crop was around 13.4 million tonnes, worth $5 billion.

According to Wheat Exports Australia, exporters shipped almost ten million tonnes of Australian wheat to 41 countries between October 2008 and the end of July.
This included countries receiving bulk Australian wheat for the first time in at least four years, including the UK, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Malawi and Tanzania.

by S. C.
02 october 2009, World News > Oceania