Australian grain monopoly blocks competition
The monopoly wheat exporter AWB has vetoed several applications by other
grain handlers to export wheat. The West Australian company CBH and other groups
had lodged applications with the Wheat Export Authority.
Every time AWB is
exercising its legislative power to block the moves. CBH has raised
the possibility of legal action on behalf of growers in West
The Chairman of AWB International, Ian Donges says the group
wants to protect its pool participants, as well as long-term markets. He says
four million tonnes is projected into the national pool and this is the lowest
for some time. Donges says if large tonnages were removed the pool participants
would need to bear extra costs.
CBH has applied for a licence to export
two million tonnes. It has announced a five-year supply deal with flourmills it
owns through a joint venture in Southeast Asia. CBH was offering growers an
extra AUS$30 a tonne.
Other groups that had lodged applications also said
they could get more money. But Ian Donges says introducing competition would
drive prices down. Donges says it doesn't make sense to have multiple export
permits going into markets currently served by AWB.
But CBH Corporate
Affairs Manager Reese Ainsworth says its bid was all about getting value for
growers. CBH is thinking of legal action. "So we'll be looking at legal options,
we'll be looking at talking to government. I think the overwhelming response
we've had from growers so far is that they're supportive of what we're doing and
I think we have an obligation to follow up on their behalf", Ainsworth
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