Press Release




Western Australian wheat farmers remain furious over Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s and Deputy Liberal Leader Julie Bishop’s refusal to support the Government’s Wheat Export Marketing Amendment Bill and are saying that the future of their industry is being held to ransom to satisfy the protectionist policies of the National Party.


“To say that most wheat farmers in Western Australia are shocked and disappointed over the Leader and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party’s responses and attitude towards one of the most significant issues facing agriculture in Western Australia would be an understatement,” PGA Western Grain Growers Chairman John Snooke said.


“By refusing to support the Wheat Export Marketing Amendment Bill Mr Abbott and Ms Bishop are stopping the continuation of the process which both of them and the rest of the Liberal Party agreed to begin four years ago with the removal of the Single Desk.”


“And contrary to the propaganda that the Liberal front benchers have been putting forward, full deregulation will not occur over night and will only happen at the earliest by 2014 pending completion and approval of an industry code of conduct that will cover aspects of port access arrangements and wheat quality controls.”


“This transitional path to deregulation will not only permit the industry to gradually move towards self regulation, but will also provide greater scrutiny of the bulk handlers by the ACCC, including oversight over the entire supply chain, not just port access which is the case now, “ he said.


“Wheat farmers in Western Australia are the largest producers of export wheat in the nation and so far this year we have exported more tonnes of wheat out of Kwinana Port than the total amount of export wheat produced in NSW, yet we are being told by the Liberal Party that because the industry in Western Australia is not united the concerns of eastern states growers must be given priority on this issue in order to maintain harmony within the Coalition.”


“Ms Bishop is well aware that the Western Australian grains industry is actually united on this issue, as she has met with members of the PGA as well as other growers and industry organisations who have shown full support for the path to Deregulation to continue.”


“Yet she refuses to acknowledge the views of the majority of wheat farmers throughout the electorates of Durack and O’Connor and is only considering the position of one small group of growers who, up to three weeks ago had not made a single comment, public or otherwise, on the future of the WEA.”


“The sole purpose of Members of Parliament is to serve their electorate and of Senators is to serve the best interests of their State, yet it seems that the Western Australian Federal Liberals are now being told to serve the interests of wheat farmers in New South Wales and Victoria.”


“But what is most disconcerting is that Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop are forcing WA Federal Liberal Politicians to abandon their free market principles and adopt the protectionist policies of Barnaby Joyce and the Nationals all for the sake of unity in the Coalition—sacrificing the future of WA wheat farmers in the process.”


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