Potato wars in Australia: Anger boils as WA premier drops ‘bizarre’ case against spud king

The Western Australian premier has provoked the ire of the potato-growing lobby for instructing the state solicitor’s office to drop a long-running court case against the self-styled potato kingpin Tony Galati. Galati, WA’s largest potato grower and proprietor of the Spudshed chain of independent supermarkets, was sued by the Potato Marketing Corporation in 2015 for exceeding his potato quota. The case was still going through the supreme court when the Barnett government deregulated the potato industry on 1 July 2016, abolishing the PMC and the quota system which had dictated potato growing in the state since the 1940s. The Potato Growers Association, still incensed by Galati’s decision to give away 200 tonnes of excess potatoes in January 2015 rather than stick to his quota, said the premier, Mark McGowan, should not have halted the court case without first consulting growers. More