WEST PERTH, AUSTRALIA — Grain companies in Australia said they welcome the passage of the Wheat Export Marketing Amendment bill, which passed the federal parliament on Nov. 29.
CBH Group Chief Executive Officer Dr. Andrew Crane said the legislation would provide the Australian grains industry much needed certainty for the future through the removal of unnecessary regulation and costs.
“The legislation will result in the winding up of Wheat Exports Australia and the cessation of the Wheat Export Charge, which Western Australian grain growers supported as it will reduce their costs,” Crane said.
In addition the legislation will allow for the more efficient operation of CBH grain ports through the removal of the port access undertaking to be replaced by a mandatory code of conduct that will cover all Australian bulk wheat port terminals.
Crane said that CBH would work closely with the expert panel to be established by the Minister as part of the legislation. The panel will consider legacy grain industry issues that do not relate directly to port operations, including wheat stocks information and export wheat quality and integrity.
“CBH believes these issues need careful consideration prior to any formal position being adopted that would unnecessarily connect them to the mandatory code of conduct and potentially add back costs, inefficiencies and delays to the wheat export supply chain,” Crane said.
“These matters are presently and should remain being managed by the industry separate to port operations.”
GrainCorp Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Alison Watkins said passage of the amendment and an announcement that the ACCC will not object to GrainCorp offering long-term agreements to exporters for access to its ports, are significant steps forward for all participants in the eastern Australian grain industry.
“GrainCorp’s revised Port Protocols will make the grain in our network more internationally competitive. They allow longer term planning by exporters and far more flexible port operations,” Watkins said. “These changes have benefits across the industry. Our exporters can plan and respond more effectively to the challenges of the increasingly dynamic international grain market; growers get more competition for their grain, particularly from international markets; and the major customers of Australian grain in Asia and the Middle East will have greater certainty that they will have a reliable supply of high quality Australian grain.”
Currently, all port capacity can be made available only one year ahead. Under the new arrangements, 60% of port capacity will be made available for three-year agreements – substantially expanding the grain accumulation and export planning horizon for exporters.