PERTH, AUSTRALIA — The CBH Group on Nov. 1 welcomed the passage of the Wheat Export Marketing Amendment Bill through Australia’s House of Representatives and called it a major step toward the continuing transition to a more dynamic, competitive marketplace.
This included the abolition of Wheat Exports Australia and the Wheat Export Charge and the removal of port access undertakings for bulk handlers who were also accredited exporters.
CBH Group Chief Executive Officer Andrew Crane said the wheat industry would be better off as a result of the new legislation’s removal of unnecessary regulation and costs.
“As a grower co-operative, we fully support these measures because they are no longer needed and the costs of compliance are ultimately passed back to growers,” Crane said. “Unnecessary regulation limits the industry’s ability to respond quickly to changing conditions or dynamics in the marketplace. Importantly, the passage of this legislation will give the industry greater certainty to make decisions on future investments in infrastructure and growth.”
Crane said CBH also welcomed indications the bill would now pass the senate with the support of the Australian Greens Party.
However, he said it was disappointing the Greens support was subject to amendments, which would require a mandatory code of conduct overseen by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
“Representatives from across the industry were progressing on a voluntary code of conduct overseen by an independent Code Administration Committee," Crane said.
“This would have had broad industry support and cooperation and ensured fair, efficient and transparent access to port terminal services. The risk is that a mandatory code overseen by the ACCC will add costs back into the supply chain that will ultimately be passed back through to growers and result in an inferior code that may also restrict the industry’s ability to respond quickly to changing conditions.”
Crane said CBH looked forward to working closely with the proposed expert wheat industry taskforce examining wheat export standards and reporting of stocks information.
“As one of Australia’s biggest wheat exporters and grain bulk handlers, we believe we will be able to provide valuable input into this process and from a perspective, which puts growers’ interests first,” he said.