WA Bushfire Appeal

Jan 19, 2016

Since bushfires began burning in Western Australia (WA) in the week of 4 January, fires have significantly affected the Waroona-Harvey dairying region. Now three weeks on from the devastation, recovery assistance for farmers is the primary focus.

To support the recovery effort, WAFarmers has established a hay drive and is managing a relief appeal to collect cash donations for affected farmers. One hundred per cent of the funds raised through the WAFarmers Fire Appeal will go directly to farmers; ensuring financial assistance is available to farmers for tasks including the rebuilding of fencing and the purchase of feed.

WA’s Dairy Industry bodies, including WAFarmers and Western Dairy, have commenced preliminary assessments. There are approximately 20 dairy farms with direct fire damage and many more continue to be impacted by loss of power, burnt pasture and feed supplies.

Fencing is an immediate concern, with the fires destroying over 800 kilometers of farm fences, as well as loss of pasture and newly sown crops. There have been few reports of dairy stock loss to date.

Funds received through the WAFarmers Fire Appeal will be used directly to benefit farmers. Farmers do not have to be a member of WAFarmers to be able to receive assistance from the funds. We encourage the public to show support for the WAFarmers Fire Appeal.

The GoFundMe account can be accessed here.

Stronger competition laws remain on agenda

Oct 30, 2015

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) is calling upon the Coalition Government to adopt stronger misuse of market power laws to foster a more competitive business environment.

While some business groups have suggested that stronger laws about the misuse of market power may have negative impacts on competition and innovation, these claims don’t withstand scrutiny.

ADF President, Noel Campbell said concerns that the introduction of an effects test could put consumers at risk were unfounded.
“These changes are about protecting consumers and competition from actions that substantially lessen competition in a market. These reforms are in consumers’ interests,’ said Mr Campbell.

“The Harper Review made it clear, the law as it stand is inadequate. The Government must not let self-interested businesses and organisations with excessive market share further limit competition to the detriment of consumers, farmers and the Government.”

ADF strongly supports the Harper Review’s recommendations for any updated competition and consumer law to include an effects test. ADF is advocating for certainty that the legal process is able to provide integrity and transparency regarding the impact of retailer actions on suppliers.

Almost all OECD countries already have an ‘effects test’ within their legislative schemes and there should be no trouble in drafting an appropriate test that protects the integrity of Australian market. ADF is hopeful that this will prevent damaging practices, including predatory pricing in future.

Addressing the misuse of market power is crucial in determining the Australian dairy industry’s future profitability and sustainability. Farmers need every opportunity to improve their negotiating power for profitability and returns at the farm-gate to be achieved.

Boost for dairy competitiveness welcomed

Jul 18, 2015

The much-anticipated Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper released on Saturday 4 July on Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) National Councillor, Roma Britnell’s dairy farm in Victoria has delivered key initiatives which mark a positive step toward delivering higher productivity and profitability for Australian dairy.

Key benefits for dairy farmers which have been championed by ADF as part of the Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) include increased funding for Agricultural Counsellors abroad to address technical barriers to trade in overseas markets; improved flexibility of Farm Management Deposits and investment in establishing agricultural expertise in the provision of an Agricultural Commissioner for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

“We are pleased to see that key points of the ADIC’s recommendations to the Green Paper have been taken on board,” ADIC Chair, Noel Campbell said.

“In particular, the provision of $11.4 million over four years toward boosting ACCC engagement with agriculture, including an ACCC Agriculture Commissioner, will aid in fostering a stronger business environment throughout the supply chain.”

The ADIC submissions to the issues and green papers covered all aspects of agricultural policy with a particular focus on the following key areas:

  • Continued support for research, development and extension projects;
  • Overseas trade market access;
  • Strengthening competition laws;
  • Improving skilled labour availability.

The Government’s enhanced commitment to research, development and extension projects with a focus on innovation and risk management was also welcomed by the ADIC. The commitment of $200 million to improve biosecurity surveillance and analysis nationally will also play an essential role in creating a more durable, profitable and competitive dairy industry.

Additionally, the Government’s confirmation for water efficiency projects combined with improving existing water infrastructure and developing new infrastructure is positive. Increased support for these initiatives was a key recommendation in the ADIC’s submission to the Green Paper.

Mr Campbell said that the ADIC is committed to working with Government to see swift implementation of the initiatives delivered in the White Paper.

“The White Paper points us in the right direction in terms of where we want to go and as an industry we now look forward to working with Government to ensure that these initiatives translate into real outcomes for dairy.”

Click here to view the ADIC’s submission to the Agricultural Competitiveness Green Paper. 


President's Message - June 2015

Jun 15, 2015

 

Whether at the farm gate or in the board room, stopping to take stock, acknowledge success and identify areas for improvement is essential to ensuring any good business remains on track to deliver desired outcomes.

Now at the half way mark for 2015, Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) is reflecting on the progress made thus far and the challenges yet to overcome, with the interests of dairy farmers and their profitability top of mind.

Volatility is a constant theme for dairy farmers and the past six months has been no different with all regions affected in some way by floods, drought and an ever fluctuating global milk price. But while there have been challenges there has also been important progress.

In March, we welcomed the Australian Government’s announcement to introduce legislation capping water buybacks in the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (MDBP) at 1500 gigalitres (GL). The 1500GL cap provides dairy farmers in the Murray-Darling Basin with much-needed certainty about future water availability to sustain their business.

ADF has also welcomed the relaxation of audit requirements for farmers in the southern-connected region of the Basin who participate the On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Programme. This policy win will be explored later on the newsletter.

ADF’s lobbying on competition policy was instrumental in securing a positive step toward reforming Australia’s flawed legislation - the introduction of a Prescribed Code of Conduct. The Prescribed Code is not perfect, but it does address several key imbalances with regard to retailers’ power over suppliers. We welcome the commitment already made by retailer Woolworths by signing onto the Prescribed Code, and expect that in the days to come all the major retailers will follow suit.

ADF will continue to monitor the Codes’ effectiveness over the next three years with a view to seek the strengthening of regulations if necessary. We will also continue to advocate for an Ombudsman to help balance the market power of major retailers.

The above ‘short list’ skims the surface of the progress made so far this year, with many challenges, and triumphs, still ahead. At the forefront of our agenda is ensuring our industry retains the confidence and trust of consumers, customers and the broader public by addressing issues of concern such as unconventional gas mining and highlighting dairy farmers’ commitment to the health and wellbeing of their cattle.

The team at ADF remains committed to ensuring Australian dairy’s voice is heard through government policies that support our industry, and working with our industry bodies to ensure dairy’s good practices are known and understood across the broader community.

Noel Campbell
ADF President

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