December 5, 2012
The Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF) has reached a major milestone in its campaign to protect competitive grain trade through our ports. After more than 12 months campaigning the Australian Greens backed growers calls for crucial changes to the government’s Wheat Export Marketing Amendment Bill, which: • Ensure a new code of conduct being developed on competitive export access to our grain ports is mandatory (the code was only going to be voluntary). • Establish a National Wheat Industry taskforce to examine grain stocks and protect grain quality and the integrity of Australia’s export reputation. “The VFF has been calling on government to create laws that will protect the competitiveness and efficiency of the grain supply chain,” VFF Grains Group president Andrew Weidemann said. “We have been campaigning with growers in other states for 12 months for an enforceable mechanism to ensure fair access to ports, and we got that through the mandatory code of conduct.” The Federal Government began developing a voluntary code of conduct on port access in September last year, but only recently bowed to pressure from industry to make it mandatory. “The mandatory code should ensure that all exporters have competitive access to our ports and infrastructure, which in turn means more competitive and efficient returns to growers,” Mr Weidemann said. The government will also establish a National Wheat Industry taskforce to examine the related supply chain issues of stocks provision and grain quality integrity. “The taskforce will ensure we have access to information on how much grain is at hand, to enable an efficient operation of the market,” he said. “The taskforce will also protect the reputation of Australia’s wheat by maintaining cargo integrity, in particular wheat and varietal classification. “The VFF will work hard to ensure the taskforce and industry achieves its objectives of developing the mandatory code, stocks information and grain quality integrity.” The VFF calls on the government to make sure we get the right balance of people, including grain producers and industry representatives, on the taskforce.