SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA — Grain Trade Australia (GTA) Chief Executive Officer Geoff Honey said the Australian wheat industry’s evolution from a regulated to deregulated export marketing environment has been a success, if the record-breaking results over recent years are any indication.

Honey spoke on June 11 to delegates at the International Grains Council’s annual conference in London, England. Honey said Australia continues to supply quality wheat to the world.

“In the past four years, the Australian wheat industry has seen record production, record shipping programs, record growth in container exports and a swing into new markets,” he said. “The crop grown in 2010 set a record of 27.5 million tonnes, which was broken by the following year’s crop of just under 30 million tonnes.

“Bulk shipping programs have been running at record levels, while container exports have grown in the past four years from a base of 500,000 tonnes to over 2 million tonnes.

"Our exporters managed to find markets despite record tonnages in a very wet year, which resulted in substantial quantities of feed grain.

“Generally, destinations have also altered. Historically the Middle East was a major market for Australian wheat, but Asia now accounts for 70% of our exports — up from 30% in 2008.

“This change reflects our natural freight advantage over our Northern American competition and also the ability and quality of Australian wheat to satisfy the contemporary needs of Asian markets.”

Honey said this is all sound evidence of the success of the deregulation process, achieved by a cooperative approach across the supply chain rather than through a bureaucratic regulatory structure or involvement.