The NSWFA grains committee objected to the $1.2 billion sale following its announcement last December. NSWFA wants to maintain Australian ownership of AWB and convert it into a co-operative structure similar to CBH in WA.
They are looking for government assistance to help purchase the AWB commodity trading business, estimating its value at about $850 million but don’t want government legislation re-introduced, to make grain acquisition compulsory, citing a distinct “lack of political will” in that area.
However thier campaign was not helped when the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) approved the sale in March. The ACCC concluded the proposed acquisition would be unlikely to substantially lessen competition, as argued by Mr Hoskinson and other members of the NSWFA grains committee.
“The ACCC did not even seek to impose conditions upon the sale that would require Cargill to enable other grain traders to post purchase prices at AWB GrainFlow sites, particularly when we know the company doesn’t accept deliveries for other traders at its US grain receival sites, said the association’s President Charles Armstrong.
The final step is approval from the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).
As part of its campaign, NSW Farmers is urging members to contact the FIRB and lobby their local MP’s, including the Prime Minister, Treasurer and Federal Independents, telling them the sale is against national interest.