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Potato industry moves to deregulation

For more information, contact Terry Redman (Member for Warren-Blackwood).

  • Government to repeal Marketing of Potatoes Act 1946 and Marketing of Potatoes Regulations 1987
  • WA is the only regulated potato industry remaining in Australia 

Western Australia's potato industry will be deregulated from July 1, 2016.

Agriculture and Food Minister Dean Nalder said the Government would fund a $14 million industry adjustment package from Royalties for Regions to support growers to make the transition to deregulation.

"This will end the uncertainty for the State's growers who provide high-quality potatoes for our local market, as well as the packers, processors and transporters," he said.

Mr Nalder said the Potato Growers Association of WA Inc (PGA) had confirmed to Government that the vast majority of growers wanted deregulation brought forward and requested a suitable adjustment package to support producers through the change. 

"We will sit down with industry to discuss the most appropriate way of ensuring the package provides the most equitable distribution of funds to potato growers," he said.

Regional Development Minister Terry Redman said the package would support growers and included $2 million for industry development. 

"Industry will be supported with funds matched dollar-for-dollar, allowing it to undertake research and development, invest in marketing and retain access to varieties," Mr Redman said.

"I have been advocating hard for a suitable package to help this industry moving forward with deregulation and I believe a smooth transition will be possible in coming months.

"At a recent meeting in Manjimup attended by 150 growers and industry participants, there was unanimous support to bring forward deregulation and I gave my commitment for Royalties for Regions to support the adjustment package."

Under the Government's decision, the Potato Marketing Corporation of Western Australia (PMC) will wind up its operations by the end of 2016. 

The next steps involve consultation about the repeal process with key stakeholders including the Potato Marketing Corporation, Department of Treasury, the Potato Growers Association, vegetablesWA, and wash packers and processors.

"Following deregulation, growers are expected to focus on gourmet and seed potatoes, which in unregulated markets offer higher prices than standard lines.  Growers seeking economies of scale may also move into producing processing potatoes.  Growers of other vegetables may also produce potatoes as a profitable rotation option," Mr Nalder said.

"Ultimately, the net effect of deregulation will be increased production and processing, with the greatest growth expected in the seed and processing sectors."

Fact File

  • There are four pools each year that relate to four geographic locations where potatoes are grown.  The PMC sets the total tonnage and price per tonne for each pool that growers participate in.  Pool 1 for 2016-17 has already been finalised, with potatoes to be harvested and marketed from July to September.  Pool 2, which runs from October to December, will not go ahead
  • Potato growers are situated in Pemberton, Myalup, Gingin, Lancelin, Marybrook, Busselton, Manjimup and Perth
  • The PGA commissioned an ACIL Allen Consulting report which recommended deregulation as soon as practical, assuming there is a suitable adjustment package