There’s limited wheat reform in the wake of the Cole Report – and agitation from Western Australian Liberals over AWB’s control over exports.

AWB’s power to block rival companies from exporting wheat will be transferred to the Minister for Agriculture, Peter McGauran.

But that’s it for now. Instead of moving on the single desk, the Government will embark on three months of “consultations”.

The Nationals are already boasting about the outcome – for Crikey understands the internal Coalition consultations were very tough indeed.

The Nationals got very, very stroppy with their leader for supporting the granting of veto powers to McGauran. The Prime Minister, in turn, got very stroppy with them.

Some Nationals see this issue as a coalition breaker, and strife is set to continue.

Crikey understands the major grain handlers will meet with the Prime Minister’s Office to stave off Nationals pressure for AWB to be allowed to be the operator of the sale of WA wheat.

Peter Fray

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