Deregulating Australia's Wheat Trade: From the Australian Wheat Board to AWB Limited

Geoff Cockfield, Linda Botterill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 2006 in Australia there was an inquiry into allegations of kickbacks being paid to the former Iraqi regime by the grain trading company AWB Limited. The inquiry and its aftermath provided an opportunity for proponents of unregulated trade in wheat to press for the removal of the AWB’s control of export sales. This article is a review of the history of the development and dismantling of wheat marketing regulation in Australia, treated as a case study to illustrate two things: the shift in the prevailing values in Australian agricultural policy over the last 35 years; and the way in which legislative cycles, reviews, institutional change and particular events provide opportunities for policy advocates to press for change, in this case over at least 40 years. It is argued here that the dominant paradigm for trading agricultural commodities shifted from one based on agrarian collectivism and sectoral stabilisation to a less regulated system with the focus on the values of efficiency and competitivenes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-57
Number of pages14
JournalPublic Policy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


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