Report finds grain worth billions to WA

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian
Harvesting at a farm in Cunderdin.
Camera IconHarvesting at a farm in Cunderdin. Credit: Danella Bevis/Countryman.

CBH has used a report from independent adviser Deloitte Access Economics to highlight the significance of the grains industry to the WA economy.

Deloitte found WA grain growers and their co-operative made a $3 billion contribution to the economy last financial year.

The figure reflects spending on farm inputs, wages, contractor payments, infrastructure investment and the capital employed by CBH and its 4145 grower members in WA.

In a separate part of its analysis, commissioned by CBH last year, Deloitte said the value of the broadacre crop hit $5.3 billion in 2013-14 after a record harvest, representing 65 per cent of WA’s agricultural production.

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More rain across many parts of the Wheatbelt in recent days has raised already high hopes of another above average year.

The report was released yesterday by Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and CBH chief executive Andy Crane during a visit to the Metro Grain Centre in Forrestfield.

Mr Joyce is a staunch supporter of CBH and co-operatives in general. He spoke out against a plan to corporatise CBH days after it was officially announced in February.

He warned growers not to come crying to the Federal Government if they opted to corporatise CBH and were unhappy with the consequences.

Asked about the issue yesterday, Mr Joyce talked up CBH’s value to the WA economy and said it was up to growers to decide what was in their best interests.

Dr Crane said the report was not related to the Australian Grains Champion bid or State Government moves to revisit tax exemptions for co-operatives.

“It is completely independent of that,” he said.

“We have been improving our relationship with Government both State and Federally and this was something else to help us articulate the value we bring to the economy which allows us to have a more productive relationship.”

CBH has invested $1.2 billion in its supply chain network since 2009 and is committed to spending another $750 million over the next five years as it slashes grain receival sites from 202 to 100.

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