Cobb not saying what Coalition Government would do over Graincorp sale


The Federal Opposition's agriculture spokesman John Cobb will not say if the Coalition will block the proposed sale of Graincorp, if it wins the election.

The Nationals MP, who has held the safe seat of Calare since 2007, says the September the 7th poll will be the 'election of a generation'.

Mr Cobb says allowing the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission endorsed the $3b deal to US firm Archer Daniels Midland would allow enormous control of the country's 280 grain receival ports.

While he has previously told the ABC the sale should not proceed, Mr Cobb now will not say what a Coalition government would do.

"Well that's something that may happen between now and then," he said.

"But I think at the moment, I think we've got to deal with what's in front of us.

"The National Party is very, very worried about the current situation."

The Nationals Member for Parkes Mark Coulton, who has also held his seat since 2007, says while the Coalition does not have an official position on the Graincorp deal, it is still concerned about the possible sale.

Mr Coulton says if a formal position is taken on Graincorp before the election it will be a joint decision between both the Liberal and National parties.

He says there is a lot of concern in his electorate.

"The feeling is there's grave concern with this, it's now in the hands of the foreign review board," he said.

"But certainly the farmers I've been speaking to, not all of them, there's a variance of opinion, but the clear majority that have been speaking to me have concerns about this possible take over."

Mr Cobb, who has held the safe seat of Calare since 2007 says he is unaware of any law which would open up Australia's grain receival points to competition if a proposed Graincorp takeover goes ahead.

"Not only would they control seven out of nine export terminals, they would control 280 receival points," he said.

"While there are laws surrounding others using the ports, I'm not aware of any law which would make the owner of those 280 receivals, make them available to others who want to provide competition as well."

Meanwhile, Mr Coulton is defending the Coalition's stance against forming a minority government.

The Greens have labelled Tony Abbott's move as arrogant and disrespectful to voters.

Mr Coulton, says the people in his electorate do not want to see the current situation repeated.

"They felt that in the last government, the Independents and certainly the Greens had far too much influence over the government," he said.

"So I think people need, they're looking for a government that will govern in their own right.

"The idea of having to horse trade every piece of legislation in parliament, people are sick of that."