11/11/2015 - 13:07

Court order hurdle for spud king

11/11/2015 - 13:07

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Tony Galati’s battle with the Potato Marketing Corporation has been dealt a setback, after the regulator won an injunction from the Supreme Court to prevent him producing more than his allocated quota, until at least January 2.

Court order hurdle for spud king
Mr Galati at his Spudshed store in Jandakot. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Tony Galati has suffered a setback in his fight with the Potato Marketing Corporation, after the regulator won an injunction from the Supreme Court to prevent him producing more than his allocated quota, until at least January 2.

Justice Paul Tottle made the judgement on the basis that, if Mr Galati was not kept to production at the regulated number, the corporation would lose its ability to control the market effectively.

He said there would then be a risk that other growers who operated in compliance with the legislation would follow Mr Galati’s lead and stop complying.

This would be tantamount to de facto deregulation, Justice Tottle said, adding that any deregulation should be driven by parliament and the state government.

The ruling only applies to ware potatoes for domestic consumption, however.

Mr Galati, who produces about 15 per cent of the state's potato crop, will be restricted to 1,049 tonnes of production for the period from October to the start of January.

It follows the corporation’s announcement earlier this year that it would take Mr Galati to court for oversupplying the tightly regulated trade.

Last summer, Mr Galati gave away hundreds of tonnes of potatoes to clear an excess in the market, while the Potato Growers Association, which backs the corporation, insisted they be either dumped or fed to cattle.

Mr Galati told Business News in February that he would rather go to jail than stop doing what he loved.

“We’ll fight them all the way,” he said.

“And if I get prosecuted and there was a fine, I’d take a stance, I wouldn’t pay it and they’d have to put me in jail.

“I’d probably be the only potato grower in the world to be jailed for growing potatoes … for trying to produce a competitive product to put in our market.”

The state government then moved with community sentiment, announcing in April that the industry would move to deregulation after the next election, and appointed three new board members to the corporation.

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