Wheat growers from across the country have gathered in Canberra today to take part in AWB’s Single Desk Summit, and help map the future direction of their wheat marketing system.
The Summit, to be held over two days, brings together more than 170 growers, farm lobby group representatives and members of the AWB International Board, to discuss and debate the future direction of AWB International and the Single Desk.
AWB Chairman Brendan Stewart said the conference would be of strategic importance in what is looming as a critical year for the Australian wheat industry.
The Single Desk Summit will focus on operational issues, strategic imperatives for the future, and the international trade environment. Growers will also participate in a half-day workshop conducted by Boston Consulting Group on the current and future positioning of the AWB International and the Single Desk.
Outcomes from the Summit will also be provided to the Grains Council of Australia for consideration in the development of its grains industry strategic plan.
The Summit will be officially opened today by the Federal Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, the Hon. Warren Truss MP. Opposition agriculture spokesperson Gavan O’Connor MP will deliver the opening address on day two.
Speakers include Alice Williams, head of the Government’s 2004 Wheat Marketing Review; Alan Oxley, Chairman of the Australian APEC Study Centre; John Tuckwell, Senior Economic Advisor, Delegation of the European Commission to Australia and New Zealand; and Hamish McCormick, from the Department of Foreign Affairs’ office of trade negotiation.
Mr Stewart said AWB would continue to invest in the future of the Single Desk.
“In such a fiercely competitive and grossly distorted international environment, it is absolutely critical to have appropriate strategies and investments in place to ensure the Single Desk system continues to deliver benefits for Australian wheat growers,” said Mr Stewart.
“This Summit is about listening to growers, working with them on future strategies, and retaining and improving a system that is beneficial, profitable and sustainable,” Mr Stewart said.
The AWB Single Desk Summit is being held at Old Parliament House in Canberra on February 10 and 11.