Better grain stocks information needed to boost competition

Better grain stocks information needed to boost competition
Thursday, 7 Sep 2017

A better system for reporting the quality and quantity of grain in major storages throughout Australia has become more urgent following a GrainCorp restructure that will strengthen its natural monopoly in the east coast grain market, AgForce Queensland said today.

AgForce Grains President Wayne Newton said Queensland grain growers shared NSW Farmers' concerns that GrainCorp's move to combine its marketing, storage and logistics into a single unit would give it a significant advantage over its competitors.

"The GrainCorp restructure puts the company's marketing function in a very powerful position with visibility of all their competitors' grain stored in the bulk handling system, and highlights why we urgently need a more open, transparent grain stocks reporting system to level the playing field," he said.

"In 2013, the Federal Government's Wheat Industry Advisory Taskforce recommended that commercial storage providers in each port zone report monthly the total volume of wheat stocks stored, but little progress has been made on this proposal in the last four years.

"A pilot voluntary reporting scheme was tried but failed because bulk handlers refused to supply the relevant grain stocks information, so it's now time to bite the bullet and make stock disclosure mandatory.

"The release of timely and comprehensive grain stocks information would enable a more contestable and transparent marketplace, provide more certainty about existing supply and ultimately provide better prices for growers.

"This type of grain stocks reporting is already happening overseas in places like the United States and if we are to boost competition and improve prices, Australia can't be left behind."

Mr Newton echoed NSW Farmers' calls for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to keep a watching brief on the implications of the GrainCorp restructure for grain growers and other grain buyers.

Media Contacts: Scott Whitby 0418 733 102, Sarah Henderson 0427 626 853

Better grain stocks information needed to boost competition

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