THE new president of Western Australia’s Pastoralists and Graziers Association claims short-sighted local grain growers have succeeded in ‘beaching’ their handling cooperative, CBH Ltd, limiting the prospects for reform within the group. PGA President, Rob Gillam said the recent CBH Group election had shifted the balance of power on the new CBH board to retain it as a cooperative structure. “The result is that CBH will wallow into a competitive new era of grain handling and marketing like a beached whale in shallow water, waiting for the sharks to rip off the pieces they want.” Mr Gillam believed that CBH would quickly run out of funding options and probably be forced to keep grower tolls in place to finance its future operations. “Because CBH will now not be corporatised it will be seriously restrained in obtaining the funds it needs to grow and compete, and growers will not have access to equity estimated at close to $2 billion. “That is equity growers should be able to use as vital collateral for their business, or to capitalise if they leave the industry or need funds in an emergency.” CBH Group former chairman Richard Sewell failed in his re-election attempt this month, replaced by Vern Dempster.
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