Potato industry moves towards deregulation

Potato industry moves towards deregulation

IN a win for spud king Tony Galati and other potato growers, the State Government announced this morning the potato industry would move toward deregulation.

Minister for Agriculture and Food Dean Nalder announced growers will receive a $14 million adjustment package.

“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 Potation Growing Association of WA had told him a majority of growers supported deregulation.

Spud Shed owner Mr Galati is one of those growers, and he praised the State Government for the decision.

Speaking on 6PR this morning, Mr Galati said he was happy the Barnett government “had the balls” to do something.

“I reckon 99 per cent of growers are happy,” he said.

“We have done it. Not just us, but the support of my family and my staff and the Perth people who have got behind us over the past 20 years.”

The Government’s decision means the Potato Marketing Corporation (PMC) will wind up by the end of 2016.

Mr Galati clashed with the PMC in November last year after trying to grow more potatoes than he was allotted.

At the time, the Supreme Court sided with the PMC, saying if Mr Galati was able to sell those potatoes the PMC risked losing control of the industry.

Potato Growers Association chief executive Simon Moltoni expressed disappointment after many of the association’s and PMC’s employees found out about the impending deregulation from the media.

Mr Moltoni also said the $14 million adjustment package was almost half of what the association had asked for.

The State’s potato laws, which have often been ridiculed, date back to 1946.