Port access code welcomed

New South Wales’ peak farming group, NSW Farmers, has congratulated Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce on delivering the port access code.

NSW Farmers’ Grains Chair, Daniel Cooper, thanked Minister Joyce for listening to the views of grower organisations from across Australia as he has developed the code.

“With all Australian grain priced against the export market, an effective port code is essential to ensure that farmers and rural communities benefit from an efficient and profitable grains market,” Mr Cooper said.

“The code will ensure that where there is no competition in the supply chain necessary to efficiently export grain, all grain exporters will have fair and non-discriminatory access to the port infrastructure necessary to deliver grain to international customers.

“This access is necessary to level the playing field so that the marketing divisions of bulk handlers do not have an unfair advantage against other exporters. 
 
“Where this happens, the ability of other exporters to compete in the market to accumulate farmers’ grain for export is impeded,” said Mr Cooper.

NSW Farmers is pleased the code will include a mechanism that enables the views of farmers to be considered by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission when it determines what fair and reasonable terms for access are.

Mr Cooper said: “Key to the needs of grain farmers is the ability to monitor and be engaged in the terms of access for exporters to port terminal services.”

“If Australia is serious about improving the competitiveness and profitability of its grain farming sector then policy that results in strong competition for farmers’ grain is a must,” he concluded.

NSW Farmers has also supported less regulation on ports where competition that protects the interests of grain farmers is objectively determined or where the port is operated by a farmer-owned cooperative.

The ANZ report Greener Pastures identifies the strong concentration of agricultural supply chains as a failure that will constrain the ability of Australian agriculture to grasp the opportunities of growing world food demand. According to its authors, these constraints are less when there is significant competition through the supply chain.

ends

19 September 2014 



Contact: Justin Crosby

Phone: 02 9478 1074

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