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Australian farmers support wheat monopoly
Metro, March 17, 2004
Most farmers who took part in a national survey agree that Australia's wheat should be exported by a single desk.

Results of the national survey released by the farm advocacy Kondinin Group show 78 per cent support the present arrangement of a bulk export monopoly managed by AWB International, the corporation formed from the former Australian Wheat Board.

Eighty-two per cent of the 720 respondents supported the concept of a single desk.

Opponents cited lack of competition, management and lack of transparency as their main reasons.

Kondinin Group chief Bill Ryan said it left little doubt about support for the single desk.

"While Kondinin Group itself does not hold a position on the pros and cons of the single desk, we do believe it is our responsibility to provide independent analysis of the opinions of farmers on the issue," Dr Ryan said.

"Topping the list of reasons to support the retention of the single desk were market strength and the benefit this provided to growers."

AWB's statutory monopoly to export Australian wheat has been widely criticised by sections of the industry for lack of accountability.

Among the outspoken critics has been the Pastoralists and Graziers Association of WA which has announced it will join a new lobby group to include United Grower Holdings and the Grain Growers Association to take a wider national perspective of Australia's grain industry and form part of a grains business forum.

AWB faces a Federal Government review of its management of the single desk, which is due in August.
MGR Archive 17.3.2004
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