Collaboration key to dairy success

Jul 09, 2016

With the official announcement of last weekend’s election yet to be made, the dairy sector (like the rest of the nation) is watching very closely and working to ensure that all political parties understand our priorities. Whatever the outcome, it is essential that stability reigns – effective policy formation and clear action to overcome challenges will be otherwise impossible.

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) has made clear its priorities for the next government – extend and streamline access to the concessional loans and Farm Household Assistance for all affected farmers, create a safer, more resilient workforce, ensure secure sustainable access to water resources and above all, address the imbalance of market power within the dairy supply chain.

It’s good to see that all parties have recognised the importance of supporting our farmers through the current challenge, as well as committing to developing innovative solutions to building long term sustainability of our industry.

However, it is concerning to see some are still calling for a fresh milk levy – an unworkable solution. If a fresh milk levy was imposed, it would potentially result in farmers who supply domestic markets subsidising their export market oriented counterparts. This is not a workable solution.

There are also potential difficulties associated with such a levy breaching Australian Competition and Consumer Commission regulations as well as potential issues with the World Trade Organisation.

The fundamental issue our farmers continue to face is that they wear the bulk of financial risk in the dairy supply chain. We need a practical and viable solution to increase transparency in the way the milk pricing system works and to simplify milk contracts to ensure the volatility of the market is better balanced along the supply chain.

This week UDV and ADF met with farmers in South West Victoria – to hear concerns, answer questions and build feedback about the current supply chain into our policy work. This is one of many meetings ADF will continue to participate in throughout the year, to ensure we are effectively representing farmers’ interests.

The discussion was robust. Overall, the consensus in the room was that trust has been broken and we need to find a way forward.

The challenges faced by farmers in Western Australia due to processor decisions reinforce the sector as a whole is enduring tough times – no state is immune.

Collaboration is what will get us to where we need to be. Our industry relies on all the elements to operate effectively. Farmers need processors and vice versa – so the solutions will require input from all parties.

Beyond this the public and the government ignore us if we do not operate as one. If we have a hung parliament, dairy will need parliamentary champions to advocate our policy priorities and the industry must work together to feed them that case.

David Basham

Acting ADF President

ADF meets with government in review of ‘backpacker tax’

Mar 29, 2016

 

After extensive lobbying against the proposed ‘backpacker tax’ and significant concern as to its effect on Australian agriculture, the Federal Government has undertaken a review of the measure in consultation with affected stakeholders, including ADF.

 

ADF representatives joined industry partners including the National Farmers’ Federation at a consultation meeting in Sydney on 21 March.

ADF President, Simone Jolliffe said the meeting acknowledged deep concerns across the agriculture sector surrounding the impact of the tax on rural and regional Australia.

“By undertaking this review of the tax the government has recognised our concerns that the backpacker tax could have an adverse effect on our industry’s access to a secure and reliable alternative workforce,” Mrs Jolliffe said.

“We believe it is reasonable for backpackers to pay some tax, but the government’s 32.5c tax is too high and will deter backpackers from travelling to Australia. We look forward to ongoing consultation with government to find a solution that ensures dairy farmers can operate productive and profitable businesses.”

For further information on the proposed backpacker tax see here.


 

 

ADF opposes backpacker tax

Feb 05, 2016

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) has joined the National Farmers Federation (NFF) in calling for the Federal Government to halt the proposed backpacker tax.

As part of the 2015 Federal Budget the government announced that from 1 July 2016 all working holiday makers will be taxed at a rate of 32.5 per cent on all income.

ADF President Simone Jolliffe said that dairy farmers rely on backpackers for vital on-farm roles which cannot be filled locally or to complement their existing workforce during peak times.

“The dairy industry is suffering a skilled labour shortage which means that we need overseas workers, such as backpackers, when we cannot find suitable local staff,” Ms Jolliffe said.

“If this tax is brought in as it currently stands, backpackers may choose to travel to other countries such as New Zealand.”

“This would be damaging to the dairy industry, regional communities and the tourism industry, as well as the broader economy.”

Backpackers currently earn, on average, about $15,000 while in Australia, and may be eligible to claim the tax-free threshold.

“ADF believes it is fair and reasonable for backpackers to pay some tax, but 32.5c is excessive,” Ms Jolliffe said.

“We are supporting NFF’s position that 19 per cent, achieved through deactivation of the tax-free threshold, is fairer to both backpackers and the agricultural industry which relies on them.”

We encourage everyone who understands the significant contribution backpackers make to agriculture to support NFF’s campaign by signing an online petition.

To join the petition, go to https://www.change.org/p/australian-government-stop-the-backpacker-tax


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