Wheat

Picture of harvester, harvesting a crop

Overview

Wheat is the major winter crop grown in Australia with sowing starting in autumn and harvesting, depending on seasonal conditions, occurring in spring and summer. The main producing states are Western Australia, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Queensland.

The majority of Australian wheat is sold overseas with Western Australia the largest exporting state. The major export markets are in the Asian and Middle East regions and include Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam and Sudan.

Wheat grown for domestic consumption and feedstock is predominately produced on the east coast.

Bulk wheat export marketing arrangements

The Wheat Export Marketing Amendment Act 2012 (the Act) was passed by the Parliament on 29 November 2012 and received Royal Assent on 3 December 2012. The Act removed the Wheat Export Charge and the Wheat Export Accreditation Scheme on 10 December 2012, and abolished Wheat Exports Australia on 31 December 2012.

The Wheat Exports Australia Annual Report 2012-13* was tabled in Parliament on 3 December 2013:

Wheat Export Marketing Amendment Act 2012
Wheat Export Marketing Act 2008 (as amended)

Wheat Industry Advisory Taskforce

The Act requires the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry to establish a Wheat Industry Advisory Taskforce. On 1 February 2013, the then Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig, announced membership of the Taskforce, including the appointment of the independent chair, Dr Michele Allan.

The taskforce will examine and make recommendations to industry and government on issues that may affect the efficient operation of the wheat export industry supply chain, including wheat export quality standards and the delivery of stocks information.

Code of Conduct for Port Access

The requirement for certain port terminal operators to have access undertakings in place with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will remain in place until 30 September 2013, subject to a mandatory code of conduct for grain export terminals being in place by that date.

To assist in the development of the code, an industry Code Development Advisory Committee (CDAC) was formed, comprising representation across the supply chain. CDAC has provided advice to the government for consideration in the development of a draft code which will be released for public comment before implementation.

Productivity Commission review of wheat export marketing arrangements

The Wheat Export Marketing Act 2008 required the Productivity Commission to conduct a review of export wheat marketing arrangements by 1 July 2010. The Productivity Commission released a draft report on 22 March 2010 for public comment with written submissions due by 23 April 2010. Submissions received by the Productivity Commission are available on the Productivity Commission website.

The final report was tabled in Parliament on 28 October 2010.

The government announced its response to the Productivity Commission recommendations on 23 September 2011.

Delivery of market information

ABARES/ABS Wheat Market Information Project

In 2008, the wheat Industry Expert Group (IEG), which was established to advise on the delivery of wheat industry development functions, recommended that monthly data on key market indicators (by state) such as stocks, production, exports and wheat available for purchase be published on a monthly basis. See the IEG report.

The government provided $3.38 million over three years to implement the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)/Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) wheat market information project and give effect to the IEG recommendation.

ABARES used the results of 3 ABS surveys and its own data to produce a more comprehensive monthly market report – Australian Wheat Supply and Exports Monthly – which contained estimates of the amount of wheat that was uncommitted and available for sale. Funding finished on 30 June 2011 with the last month of reporting covering September 2011 data released in November 2011.

In 2011, the Grains Research and Development Corporation and Grain Growers Ltd jointly funded a smaller scale collection of the ABS reports, namely Stocks of Grain Held by Bulk Handling Companies and Grain Traders and Wheat Use and Stocks, Australia. The last of these reports was published in November 2012.

Independent Wheat Market Information Project

The Productivity Commission review of wheat marketing arrangements saw value in the provision of market information, by state, to support the effective operation of wheat markets, but concluded that if the industry wanted this information it should pay for it. The government agrees with this assessment.

To assist industry transition to the new arrangements, the government provided funding for an independent wheat market information project to determine future long–term arrangements for the provision of wheat market information.

The project was undertaken by independent consulting group GHD, and managed by Grain Growers Limited. The publication was not prepared by the department and may not meet Australian Government accessibility guidelines. If you require an accessible version of the publication, please contact its author.

Information requirements for an effective bulk wheat export market

Following the release of the GHD report, various industry groups continued to make contradictory claims about the availability of stocks information and its impact on competitiveness.

In order to balance the competing claims, and to assist industry in identifying potential solutions, the department contracted Mr Peter Reading to provide an independent analysis of the availability of wheat stocks information.

All sectors of industry were consulted directly in the development of the paper.

Wheat Export Technical Market Support Grants

As part of its assistance package of up to $9.37 million to help industry transition to the arrangements introduced in July 2008, the government provided up to $600,000 over three years (commencing in 2008-09) for the Wheat Export Technical Market Support Grants Program. The program gave exporters of wheat, either in both bulk or bags and containers, the opportunity to access up to $60,000 across all rounds of the program to establish technical market support arrangement for new customers.

A total of $316,334 was spent on 19 projects under the three rounds of the program. The first round of the program was announced on 12 January 2009 and all projects were completed by December 2011.

*The annual report 2012-13 is also available in a web accessible version. In order to meet online accessibility requirements, the Department of Agriculture conforms to mandated government requirements. While all care is taken to ensure the web accessible content is replicated correctly, the original document should be considered the authoritative version. Please contact us if you require assistance, or visit the Australian Government Information Management Office’s webguide for more information about accessibility.