AWB Limited was today successful in defending an appeal by NEAT Domestic Trading Pty Ltd (NEAT) to the High Court of Australia, in relation to the refusal by AWB (International) Limited to approve a number of bulk permit applications to export durum.
AWB Limited’s Managing Director, Andrew Lindberg, welcomed the outcome as a win for all wheat growers, claiming it vindicated the actions of AWB (International) Limited in the permit process and the operation of the Single Desk to maximise financial returns to all wheat growers who participate in AWB National Pools.
The judgement also confirms the original intent of the AWB Group structure in finding that both AWB (International) and AWB Limited have a shared objective of maximising the returns of growers who deliver to the National Pool.
"The permit system is in place to ensure wheat exports do not compete in AWB’s international markets to the detriment of the AWB National Pool," said Mr Lindberg.
"AWB has a strategic marketing strategy for durum in place to ensure growers receive the maximum financial advantage from their product," Mr Lindberg said.
AWB (International) Limited supports flexible export arrangements where the single desk for Australia’s wheat is not compromised.
NEAT commenced its original action in 2000 in the Federal Court against the Wheat Export Authority, AWB Limited and AWB (International) Limited. The action related to the refusal by AWB (International) Limited to approve the giving of bulk-export permits by the WEA to six applications from NEAT (all to export durum) between November 1999 and February 2000.
Mr Lindberg said through the current export system, AWB had fostered the growth of a national durum industry in the past five years underpinned by solid AWB National Pool returns for durum growers.
Durum production had increased from about 200,000 tonnes in 1996/97 to just under 800,000t in 2001/02. Exports over that time increased from just over 100,000t to about 600,000t.
"We have forged key relationships in major markets such as Italy, with some of the biggest millers and pasta producers in Europe, and have expanded our presence in other key durum markets such as North Africa, all of which has added significant value for the durum growers of Australia," Mr Lindberg.
AWB has also been instrumental in fostering a national durum industry, and has led the charge with the formation of a peak body - the Australian Durum Industry Association - to represent the interest of all stakeholders.
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