NEW SOUTH WALES, AUSTRALIA — GrainGrowers Limited said on May 22 that it is calling for an independent audit of Wheat Export Australia’s (WEA) functions, to determine what activities need to continue and which organization is best to undertake these.

“We believe the best model for the industry is the establishment of an ombudsman, similar to that of the telecommunications industry, where the entity against which any complaint is made must pick up the cost. This is much better than the current grain industry situation where producers seem to be footing the entire bill,” said GrainGrowers Chairman John Eastburn. “The fact that GrainGrowers has more contact with growers than any other entity, including Grain Producers Australia (GPA) which has a tiny membership, seems to be constantly overlooked. GrainGrowers has four field officers on the ground in Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and Queensland, talking to growers.”

Eastburn said GrainGrowers has an Agriculture Reference Group of Australia (ARGA), comprised of 12 individuals from across the country. In addition, ARGA members have direct contact with the GrainGrowers board, senior management team, staff and field officers, the group said.

“In August 2011, GrainGrowers became the grain commodity member of the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) to ensure grain producers are represented at this important national decision-making table,” Eastburn said. “Last year we established the National Quarterly Grower Consultation Forum extending an invitation to all state farm organizations to come together with GrainGrowers and the NFF to guide policy for the grain industry. WAFarmers’, the South Australian Farmers Federation and NSW Farmers’ Association, now actively join GrainGrowers and the NFF in this forum.”