The West

Liberals urged to listen to growers
Liberals urged to listen to growers

Tensions have deepened within the Liberal party over deregulation of wheat exports with a key party powerbroker saying Federal MPs against the idea should change their stance or join the Nationals and their "lefty rubbish".

Gordon Thomson, the president of the party's regional Durack Division, emailed all Liberal MPs in response to the Federal party's decision last week to back their Coalition partners the Nationals in opposing Gillard Government moves to free-up the sector.

"Federal Members should not ignore the views of WA producers, and those who do should be condemned for ignoring the three major (WA farming) organisations' wishes," he said in the email obtained by _WestBusiness _.

"WA farmers don't need another body to regulate their industry that would only add another cost. While deregulation is not part of the Nationals' agenda, it should be supported by the WA Federal Members as it is part of our platform.

"Farming has its difficult times and deregulation allows every grower the opportunity to make their own decisions on wheat marking. The speech by (Opposition spokesman) John Cobb is typical National Party lefty rubbish. Perhaps if you can't support WA producers you should join the Nationals."

With its roots in the tense debate over abolishing the single desk wheat marketing system in 2008, east coast Nationals MPs oppose further Government plans to scrap the interim wheat regulatory body Wheat Exports Australia.

They say WEA ensures better standards and access to ports.

But export-dependent WA farming groups dispute this and say the change would also cut a 22¢-a-tonne levy that the Government imposes on growers to fund WEA.

Federal Agriculture Minister Joe Ludwig said the Coalition's decision was "another example of the National Party's protectionist ways overpowering the economic ideals of the Liberal Party".

The West Australian

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