| ||AWB questions GGA workshops|| ||
AWB says it is disappointed by a decision of Grain Growers Association (GGA) to severely limit its participation in a national series of grower workshops established to look at future grains industry structural issues.
Chairman of AWB Limited Brendan Stewart said it was pointless for AWB to participate in the workshops when it had been told by GGA that it its involvement in the two-day workshops would be limited to a 30-45 minute presentation at only about 12 of the 22 gatherings.
Mr Stewart said GGA had invited AWB to participate but had rejected the national wheat marketer’s proposal to provide a speaker at all of the workshops. AWB also offered to make a grower Director available at all workshops to participate in discussions, respond to any grower questions and take feedback on views and issues. This was also rejected by GGA.
"As the manager of a national wheat marketing system that is unique to Australia and the world, it seemed a more balanced and objective approach for all growers to hear from AWB on the future direction for single desk marketing and what the next decade and beyond holds for growers," Mr Stewart said.
"Growers are coming together to explore issues around the future direction of the grains industry - of which wheat is the most critical element - worth between $4 billion - $5 billion to Australian producers. It only makes sense that AWB be given the opportunity to present at all workshops to ensure grower participants are fully informed before they make a decision regarding the future of the grains industry.
"I have grave concerns that there is a predetermined outcome being pushed by GGA - an organisation which supports the winding back of the single desk to an ‘at port’ model which would take considerable value away from growers.
"By limiting AWB’s input into the process, GGA has reinforced our concerns about a hidden agenda.
"GGA’s attitude has been very disappointing. They are denying growers a balanced and objective discussion to achieve their own ends," Mr Stewart said.