Patience needed on CBH restructure, says farmer

Countryman
Geraldton's Fred Newman said there is no sense in rushing into arestructure without rigorous investigation and performing due diligence before any vote need be taken
Camera IconGeraldton's Fred Newman said there is no sense in rushing into arestructure without rigorous investigation and performing due diligence before any vote need be taken Credit: Countryman

Geraldton farmer Fred Newman believes there is no sense in rushing into a restructure of CBH without rigorous investigation and performing due diligence.

“If the proposal is genuine, it won’t go away in a hurry, it is important to wait for the complex investigations that are needed,” he said.

“A well-run co-operative is able to compete with anyone and do so to the benefit of all growers, not just the fortunate ones who have had good harvests for the last five years.”

He said perhaps those who were stridently advocating the corporate structure appeared to need the cash urgently.

“They give no thought to the future, either of themselves or other growers,” Mr Newman said.

He said the Pastoralists and Graziers Association’s current support for corporatisation was a case of history repeating itself.

“In 1998, I was engaged in crossing words with Vince Gair, of the PGA, about the merits of a farmers’ co-operative versus the private enterprise monopoly of Fletcher International over the issue of the slaughter of prime lambs,” he said.

“Despite many competitors, the farmers’ co-operative WAMMCo-op is now the leading lamb processor in Australia.”

He said the current competition against CBH only handled a small percentage of the State’s grain and only selected grades.

“CBH handles all and every grade and variety of grain and does so efficiently with a lower cost to the grower than pertains in the Eastern States,” he said.

“If growers want some share in the equity that CBH holds, they should talk about separately listing the several functions that CBH has developed and leave the core function of grain handling to the co-operative.”

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