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Industry Comment

AWB and GCA ignore the facts

Pastoralists and Grazier’s Association

WESTERN Australian grain growers have accused AWB Limited of showing "contempt for the recent Senate inquiry into the Wheat Marketing Amendment Bill 2002" by distributing single desk propaganda via its producer "puppet" the Grains Council of Australia.

Western Graingrowers chairman of the Pastoralists and Grazier’s Association Leon Bradley said neither AWB nor Grains Council had apparently taken heed of warnings from the Senate committee about their "incestuous sponsorship-political relationship".

"The Senate review report was only hours old when a letter of condemnation of the findings – minus the facts behind those findings – was on its way to wheat growers in all States via the AWB distribution list, urging them to support a campaign to prevent accountability and transparency being forced onto the AWB group," he said.

Mr Bradley said the Grains Council letter also deliberately ignored concerns expressed by the review committee that the GCA’s relationship with AWB compromised its independence.

Power supply improvement applauded

Warren Blackwood Economic Alliance

THE Warren Blackwood Economic Alliance is pleased to see that problems identified in its recent infrastructure review have been taken seriously by Western Power which has announced a $24.5 million network upgrade that will improve the reliability and quality of power supplies in the Bridgetown-Manjimup area.

The upgrade of the existing 66KVa line with the installation of a second 132KVa line will provide significant backup for the region which has been subject to long outages and brownouts.

The previous line had only been able to supply about 38 per cent of the region when an outage to the 132KVa line occurred.

Given that the alliance had identified power supply failures as a major barrier to attracting information technology and computerised manufacturing to the region, a more reliable power source can only be a benefit.

Fruit growth pressure

Western Australian Fruit Growers’ Association

DESPITE producing more than $35 million worth of fruit per year, about 1,000 grower members of the WA Fruit Growers’ Association face mounting pressure to maintain industry growth.

Regulations covering occupational health and safety, water resource management and employment awards continue to compete with domestic and export market development.

After 12 months of lobbying, WAFGA has arranged for exporters and regulators to meet with growers during the 2003 WAFGA Annual Conference in Perth on August 1 to collectively address many of these issues.

"Escalating water management costs have led the Water and Rivers Commission to consider imposing licensing fees on commercial users, such as orchardists, and WAFGA has used its position on the Stakeholder Reference Group to address associated equity concerns," WAFGA executive manager Robert McFerran said.

WAFGA is also negotiating practical workplace safety regulations with WorkSafe to moderate escalating equipment maintenance costs and is lobbying for more feasible fruit growing and packing awards.

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