Colin Barnett has attacked continuing regulation of the wheat industry, putting him at odds with his Federal colleagues who have agreed to delay action for another two years for the sake of coalition unity.

Amid simmering tensions within the Liberals over wheat deregulation, Mr Barnett warned failing to abolish the Wheat Exports Australia authority would hurt farmers trying to sell grain overseas.

The Premier's criticism comes despite the party's State council on Saturday effectively endorsing Federal MPs and senators' current handling of the situation.

Supporters of deregulation have promised to continue their fight within Liberal ranks, despite the State cuncil rejecting an attempt to debate the matter.

Cracks over wheat deregulation emerged last week, with WA Federal Liberals setting aside the party's long-standing policy to back the Nationals' move to block the Gillard Government's winding up of WEA.

Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop told her fellow West Australians an open brawl on the issue would harm Tony Abbott's leadership and hurt the coalition's election chances next year.

The decision sparked a fierce backlash from grassroots rural Liberals and the Pastoralists and Graziers Association.

At Saturday's State council meeting, Ms Bishop and frontbencher Mathias Cormann defused a push to debate a motion that would have called on the party's Federal representatives to support Labor's attempts to scrap the authority.

It is understood Ms Bishop and Senator Cormann stressed the need to focus on getting rid of Labor and its carbon and mining taxes.

But a source said council members were reluctant to be seen rebuking Ms Bishop or putting WA parliamentarians in the embarrassing position of backing Labor over the rest of the coalition.

At a news conference yesterday, Mr Barnett said he did not want regulation over wheat exports from the biggest growing State.

Having a wheat authority continuing did not serve the industry well.

The West Australian

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