As a resident of New South Wales, your correspondent Kevin O’Neill might consider the single-desk marketing system for export wheat was the “jewel in the crown of the Australian wheat industry” (Letters, News Weekly, February 7, 2009).
He might advise, however, just how much wheat he has delivered directly to the single desk over the last decade or longer.
Official records show that the entire eastern states deliveries in recent years amounted to a few thousand tonnes, the rest being sold in the deregulated domestic market.
My constituents in Western Australia, who typically supply approximately 70 per cent of all Australia’s export wheat have, however, voted with their feet, and approximately 70 per cent of deliveries this season have gone to newly licensed exporters, particularly their own co-operative CBH which also purchased Asian flour mills to complete the supply chain.
Mr O’Neill is wrong to claim promises were made that deregulation would influence overseas subsidies. The only promise was that those who export would have the opportunity to get a better net return for their crop.
That so many have not utilised the still available AWB pool is evidence that they have got a better deal.
Growers in Western Australia were fed up with being forced to fund a monopoly export pool so that eastern states growers had an alternative market in the years when the private traders with whom they dealt were unable to sell all their wheat in the deregulated domestic market.
The shift of export grower sentiment, once the politics and misinformation campaign were over, makes it clear that I, as an elected representative of Australia’s largest wheat-exporting electorate, got it right in promoting and voting for the deregulation package to improve growers’ income.
The Hon. Wilson Tuckey MP,
Federal Member for O’Connor, WA.