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What The Australians Say Post-AWB

The following contains selected quotes from an online forum in Australia. The question posed was this: Canadians often hear about how bad it is in Australia now that your marketing board is no longer a monopoly. What are some real-world stories from the guys who actually went through the transition? Was it worth it? Is it better now or was it better before?

The answers varied, with some saying it was worse, and several saying there wasn’t much impact and a few saying it was better.

To read the full thread go to: http://www.thecombineforum.com/forums/27-general-farming- board/27766-questionaussies- about-awb. html.

More middlemen to screw the prices down, traders are not interested in farmers getting high prices. As long as they make a margin it doesn’t matter to them if prices are high or low. … Terrible logistics in organizing export cargoes, multiple exporters all wanting to load ships at the same time leading to shipping bottlenecks. Someone has to wear the cost of idle ships waiting to load. Guess who eventually wears that cost? Deregulation hasn’t benifitted the average Australian farmer at all.

One thing that can’t be disputed is that in its original form the AWB acted in the best interests of growers. That is not the case anymore.

It has made zero difference to my business.

I prefer it now because you can sell for cash whenever you want and not restricted to pool sales only.

I pooled some wheat last harvest and it will have poorest return maybe by as much as $70 the way markets are going and I have 15 per cent of new season’s wheat sold for cash at good levels which would not have been possible in old days. But I also have 10 per cent contracted in the premium pool as well.

Honestly it’s no big deal either way and nobody really wants to go back to what we had in my opinion.

It is undoubtedly more complex now. However, the opportunities are also greater I feel. In terms of prices, I feel that the highs are now higher, the lows are lower, and the price changes in between happen much quicker.

The issue of the perception of Aussie wheat quality is a real concern, with traders now more likely to sell for a quick buck rather than long-term relationships.

In summary, I don’t sit back and think “gee I wish we still had the single desk.” I’m reasonably happy with how it is now, but make sure your government maintains investment in rail infrastructure, as this is our No. 1 problem.

Our reputation for quality has been damaged. No doubt there are some good traders but in general the farmers are the losers. … Today’s prices have fallen $25 a ton.

I believe the removal by government of AWB’s single- desk export monopoly has cost our industry dearly. Growers now have no equity at all in their own industry, everything beyond the farm gate is now in the hands of traders, and most of those foreign owned. So much for increased choice.

To cut to the chase. No, it’s not better at the moment. If there is pressure from you know who to get rid of the CWB and if the growers wish to maintain the CWB as a grower-based marketing organization, then the growers need to grab CWB by the short and curlies and take charge to drive it forward. Otherwise – it’s gone.

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