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A unified voice for grains: Grains Policy Council meets

30 January 2013

Representatives from across the Australian grain industry came together in Canberra yesterday for the second National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) Grains Policy Council meeting.

“The NFF Grains Policy Council represents a positive step forward for the grains production sector in developing a united voice to Government,” NFF President Jock Laurie said.

“At the meeting, members came to agreement on the fundamentals of operating principles and governance of the Council.

“The Council also met with Minister Ludwig to discuss key policy issues facing the production sector, in particular the Wheat Industry Advisory Taskforce. There was reassurance from the Minister that the Council will have the opportunity to engage directly with the Taskforce,” Mr Laurie said.

The Grains Policy Council meeting focused on three core immediate policy issues requiring action. These included the increase of test weight by Grain Trade Australia for wheat from 74kg/hL to 76kg/hL, the Wheat Industry Advisory Taskforce and the mandatory code of conduct for port access.

“In a show of unity on a key issue facing grain growers, the Council was unanimous in its opposition to the increase to test weight on the grounds of the additional costs imposed on growers. In addition, the increase in test weight was not demanded by our overseas customers in terms of grain quality attributes. The Council will be taking appropriate action to address this issue on behalf of Australian wheat growers,” Mr Laurie said.

The Council also identified long term policy issues that will require addressing this year, including infrastructure, industry good functions and agricultural and veterinary chemicals.

The Grains Policy Council includes representatives from NFF, Grain Growers Limited, NSW Farmers, AgForce QLD, the Victorian Farmers’ Federation, Grain Producers SA, WAFarmers and the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association. In addition, Grain Producers Australia (GPA) addressed the meeting and contributed to the discussions.

The Council will undertake further work on policy issues outside of the formal meeting process with the Council due to meet again at the beginning of April 2013.

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