GrainCorp takeover not in national interest: McCormack

The Nationals’ Member for Riverina Michael McCormack has called on Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan to reject a proposed foreign takeover of Australia’s last major publicly-listed grain business, GrainCorp.

“I wrote to the Treasurer last week urging him, in the national interest, to refuse any such deal,” Mr McCormack said.

“As soon as this takeover was announced, I engaged with Riverina stakeholders and
local farmers and they are gravely worried about the future if the company’s strategic port facilities
fall into overseas hands.”

The Foreign Investment Review Board is currently considering the $3 billion-plus offer by United States corporation Archer Daniels Midland and Mr McCormack believes any takeover will ultimately lead to higher future handling charges for grain
growers in the eastern states.

GrainCorp’s country silo, logistics and export facilities handle more than 75 per cent of eastern Australia’s grain crop and directly sells half of the wheat exports of New South Wales.

“We cannot allow this to simply be sold off,” Mr McCormack said. “I do not believe the Treasurer and the FIRB will be able to justify that this is in the national interest, and it is certainly not in the interest of our wheat growers.”

The Nationals discussed the issue at a special meeting last week with party leader Warren
Truss saying the FIRB and the Treasurer had to act.

“If we keep blithely going along with the domino-effect of one-by-one allowing our successful agribusinesses to fall into foreign hands, we’ll have nothing left to call our own, and all the decisions about Australia’s farming future will be made in boardrooms halfway around the world,” Mr Truss said.


Cristy Houghton