The Nationals are standing firm in their support of the single desk wheat export system, but not all grain growers are thanking them for it.
Nationals primary industry spokesman Duncan Gay was in Dubbo yesterday and reaffirmed his belief the single desk should remain.
“It’s essential for NSW and for farmers to maintain the single desk,” he said.
Most grain growers throughout the region agree but there are also some, like Grant Holland, who would be only too glad to see the end of the single desk.
“AWB has absolutely trashed our trading reputation. They’ve been dishonest with the the Government, the UN and growers,” he said, arguing AWB was able to do these things because of the structure of the wheat export system.
“The single desk has no transparency. The Wheat Export Authority (WEA) was meant to be a watchdog but the AWB had more power than it.”
Solutions such as strengthening the WEA or giving control of the single desk to another company have been suggested but Mr Holland has rejected these.
“Whoever took it over would end up doing exactly the same thing AWB has done. The structure is flawed and needs to be changed.”
Mr Holland said growers would be able to handle a transition from AWB’s monopoly to the open market because most of them were already selling grain domestically on an open market.
He also claimed prices would be no lower, and in fact probably higher, on a free market.
“I just can’t understand why growers are stubbornly clinging to the single desk. It doesn’t make any sense.”
He also took aim at the National Party for its continued support of the single desk.
“I’ve been a member of the National Party since I was 19 and I can’t wait for the day when the whole party disappears,” he said.
“They’re only doing this so they can differentiate themselves from the Liberals. They only had two issues to fight for, Telstra and the single desk, and they’ve already lost Telstra. They’re just hanging onto the single desk now out of stubborness.”
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