This research seeks to understand the impacts of the deregulation of export wheat marketing in Victoria’s western Wimmera. The dismantling of the single desk for wheat exports, operated by the Australian Wheat Board, was finalised in June 2008. In the five years since, no studies have specifically sought to understand from growers how they have been impacted by deregulation. This paper addresses this gap in the literature. To appreciate what these changes have meant, this research conducted semi-structured interviews with 23 wheat farmers based around the western Victorian town of Kaniva. Quantitative and qualitative analysis of these interviews revealed the growers were intensely opposed to the deregulation of the export wheat market. Fundamentally, this shift has resulted in growers having to market their own grain, ensuring that the success of their business was heavily reliant upon their effectiveness in an area in which they had no skills or experience. As a result, this research found that, firstly, growers cited financial costs as being the most significant impact of deregulation, and secondly, the impacts of deregulation were most intensely felt by farmers on properties of between 2,000 and 4,000 acres. In addition, participants in this study frequently described how this policy shift had left them politically disenfranchised.


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