Home' Grower : Dec 2012 - Jan 2013 Contents The South Australian Grower -- December 2012/January 2013
Delay in release of
THE FINDINGS and recom-
mendations of the Federal
Senate Rural and Regional
Affairs and Transport References
Committee will not be released until
March 20 next year.
The report was to be handed down
on November 21.
The Inquiry concerns the biosecu-
rity risks to the Australian potato
industry of fresh potatoes imported
from New Zealand for processing,
including french fry and potato chip
Chief executive officer of Potatoes
South Australia Incorporated Robbie
Davis was advised that the commit-
tee intended to conduct further
analysis of the risks associated with
the importation and quarantine
process. She was first witness at the
The New Zealand potato industry
is affected by many pests and diseases
which are not present in Australia,
including the devastating zebra chip
disease, which reduces yield and
results in a downgrading of quality
with distinct discolouration in the
shape of brown/black stripes and
eventual death of the plant.
The disease has caused more than
$120 million damage to the NZ
industr y. The Australian Potato
Industry faces catastrophic yield loss-
approval of market access for NZ
potatoes by the Federal
Government's DAFF Biosecurity
Australia goes ahead.
"The Senate inquiry demonstrates
the deep concerns of the industry
worth more than $500m nationally.
This delay must indicate the serious-
ness of the Committee's findings to
date and the need for further time
can only mean that more questions
need to be asked," Ms Davis said.
In SA, potatoes represent the
largest horticulture contribution to
gross food revenue, and it has the
most to lose from importing New
Zealand potatoes as it is the nation's
largest potato producer with farm
gate production worth $206 million.
"SA also produces 80pc of the
nation's fresh washed potatoes.
"We must maintain our food secu-
rity and biosecurity by preventing
the importation of exotic pests and
diseases -- this market access must
The SA industr y has been liaising
with SA Senators Nick Xenophon,
Sean Edwards and Anne Ruston, and
has the support of state and local
Have your input into potato
'collective bargaining' idea
THE Australian Competition and
Consumer Commission is proposing
to authorise the South East Potato
Growers Association and the
Victorian Potato Growers Council
and their members to collectively
bargain with potato buyers.
The draft determination
distinguishes between the
collective bargaining conduct that
potato growers would be allowed to
adopt and the process that the
Victorian potato growers would
engage in to set a recommended
price for seed potatoes.
The commission does not propose
to authorise seed potato growers to
set a recommended price for their
There are about 70 potato-
growing businesses in South
Australia and of them, 17 belong to
SEPGA and largely supply
processing potatoes in a limited
VPGC represents about 290 potato
growers who supply a range of
potato types including fresh,
processing and seed.
The commission had authorised
SEPGA's and VPGC's collective
bargaining arrangements in 2007,
when it found that they would be
more beneficial than detrimental to
Authorisation provides statutory
protection from court action for
conduct that might otherwise raise
concerns under the competition
provisions of the Competition and
Consumer Act 2010.
Broadly, the commission may
grant an authorisation when it is
satisfied that the public benefit
from the conduct outweighs any
It is seeking submissions from
interested parties about its draft
determination, particularly seed
Submissions close November 19
and can be posted or lodged online.
Potatoes SA CEO Robbie Davis.
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