THE Australian Government is reviewing the Wheat Port Code and wants to hear from farmers, bulk handlers, traders and other stakeholders to ensure it is providing exporters of bulk wheat fair and transparent access to port terminal services without unnecessary red tape.
The code came into effect in October 2014, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the government was conducting the periodic review to assess what effect it had had, if it could be improved, and whether it should stay.
“The Wheat Port Code aims to reduce unnecessary regulatory burden and allow bulk wheat exporters to get on with what they do best — getting Australia’s wheat out to the world market— while ensuring there is a level playing field,” Mr Joyce said.
“We would particularly like to hear from farmers and exporters about their experiences accessing port infrastructure since the code came into effect.”
Australia is one of the world’s major wheat exporters, and Mr Joyce said the Federal Government therefore needed to ensure port terminals through which Australian wheat was exported were working as efficiently and effectively as possible.
In 2016/17, Australia shipped 22 million tonnes to world markets, with Asian, African and Middle East ports being key destinations.
The review announced today will consider the use and access to port terminal services over the past three years, and if and when the regulation should be retained, repealed or amended.
In the absence of amending regulations, the Wheat Port Code will continue for another three years, at which time another review will be held.
Submissions close Friday, 24 November, and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources will consider them prior to publishing a draft report and seeking further industry feedback in February 2018.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) enforces the code; to date, it has approved exemptions for 13 wheat export facilities, declined an exemption to one facility, and approved a variation to one approved capacity allocation system.
The ACCC published its first Bulk Wheat Ports report in December 2016.
More information about the current review can be found here.
Source: Federal Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources