President's Message - November 2014

Nov 12, 2014

president message ADIC Chair and ADF President, Noel Campbell presenting at the China Dairy Industry Association Conference in Shanghai earlier this year. In anticipation of the announcement of a China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on the heels of the G20 Summit in Brisbane this weekend (15-16 November), there has never been a more pivotal time for the dairy to ensure the industry’s interests remain a priority at the pointy end of the negotiations.

A number of dairy industry executives from the Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) and Dairy Australia (DA), including myself, returned from Beijing, China last weekend after spending time with Australian Government officials who were negotiating the proposed bilateral trade deal.

I am pleased to report back that the talks were positive and we are confident that in the event of a signed FTA the industry can expect the announcement will enhance future confidence for both the farm and processing sectors.

If we get this deal right, it will be a great opportunity to boost Australian dairy’s competitiveness on an international scale and support, and grow, the 43,000 Australians directly employed in dairy, most in regional Australia.

The ADIC has reiterated the mutually beneficial nature of such a deal, which will offer Chinese consumers increased access to a secure supply of high quality, safe dairy products from Australia, and has encouraged the Government not to sign an agreement that does not deliver commercially meaningful outcomes for dairy.

As Chair of the ADIC, I am proud of the acknowledgement and bipartisan support our industry has received throughout the trade negotiations. Dairy’s message has been heard loud and clear – now, it’s over to the Government.

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ADF Gets a Taste of Bega

Oct 30, 2014

taste of bega Cows on the D’Arcy farm in Tarraganda, NSW are at ease with the robotic milking system. Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) hosted several ministerial and departmental staffers, including from the office of the Federal Minister for Agriculture, on a tour of Bega in October, introducing them to the dairy industry and ensuring that dairy remains at the forefront of the Government’s considerations when formulating policy.

The delegation commenced with a day trip to the Bega factory, where attendees including ministerial advisers and Department of Agriculture staff joined ADF and representatives of industry bodies NSWFarmers, Dairy Australia and the National Farmers’ Federation to discuss challenges facing dairy, including labour and skills shortages.

While touring the factory floor and marvelling at how efficient dairy production lines need to be, attendees discussed the importance of a pro-dairy outcome with regards to the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement and the mutual benefits such a deal would bring for all involved. In particular, the opportunity to widen the potential export market was noted as Bega workers packaged up goods to be transported to the Middle East, USA, New Zealand, and South East Asia.

Continuing on to the 160 hectare D’Arcy farm in Tarraganda, where robotic milkers have replaced manual labour in the dairy shed, the group of dairy novices were treated to a demonstration of owner and farmer Andrew D’Arcy’s six newly installed robotic milking boxes. The D’Arcy farm is the first in Bega Valley to install such a system and the second in New South Wales to do so.

At a time when dairy farms are still rebuilding herd numbers after years of drought in NSW, therobotic system is a spectacular example of farmers’ investment in the future of dairy. ADF explained the many other ways Australian dairy farmers are innovating, ranging from nutrition to genomics to margin-focused business models.

The trip was a brilliant opportunity for ministerial advisers to improve their understanding of dairy farming and production, putting the challenges and opportunities at hand for dairy in direct context and strengthening the relationship between ADF and Government. Following the trip, several ministerial advisers commented on the valuable insights they had gained into the dairy industry and that they now have a greater appreciation of the innovative practices in use from the farm gate to the factory.

Investigations into Coles’ Unconscionable Conduct Continue

Oct 17, 2014

investigation-coles Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) has welcomed further legal action by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) against Coles’ unconscionable conduct towards suppliers in mid-October, 2014.

ACCC Chair, Rod Sims said Coles forced suppliers to pay "gaps" in the profit of products it made – including cost of wastage, store markdowns and missing deliveries – even when it had no legitimate basis to do so.

"The ACCC alleges that Coles took advantage of its superior bargaining position by demanding money from suppliers that it was not lawfully entitled to, and was, in all the circumstances, unconscionable," said Mr Sims.

These proceedings arise out of the same ACCC investigation against Coles on 5 May with regards to Coles’ unconscionable conduct towards 200 of its smaller suppliers, in breach of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

ADF President, Noel Campbell said he looks forward to the result of the court case given ADF’s strong track record of advocacy to the ACCC since the introduction of the $1 per litre retail milk price.

"This latest action by the ACCC highlights the need for a Mandatory Code of Conduct, including the establishment of an independent Supermarket Ombudsman with penalties to balance the excessive market power of the major retailers," Mr Campbell said.

ADF will continue to lobby Government and engage in dialogue with the major retailers about the code.

President’s Message - October 2014

Oct 15, 2014

president message A China–Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) remains one of our highest priorities for the industry. I have spent a lot of time recently in China, as part of the Australian Dairy Delegation in August and, in September, as the only dairy industry body representative with the trade delegation led by Minister for Agriculture the Hon. Barnaby Joyce.

ADF appreciates the hard work being done by the Federal Government and will continue working hand in hand with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Agriculture to help get the best possible deal.

dairy comes to

I took the opportunity to attend the China Dairy Industry Association annual conference in Shanghai in August. The Australian industry has been working closely with our Chinese counterpart to foster a mutually beneficial trade partnership. I have also met with Chinese Government officials, industry representatives and Australian diplomats. A China-Australia FTA will not only provide the export growth that our industry needs, it will provide Chinese consumers with better access to high-demand products, as well as an improved overall diversity of supply.

On 1 October, we formally launched the Australian Dairy Vision in Canberra, where two Cumberoona Holsteins ventured to Parliament House to graze Federation Mall lawn. 'Australian Dairy – Prosperous, Trusted, World Renowned Nutrition' – will be a statement by which our industry is known for and proud of by 2025.

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