January 2016 President's Message

Jan 25, 2016

Welcome to the New Year. I hope you have all had the chance for a short break at least, and are ready to work together to tackle the challenges and opportunities that 2016 brings.

In recent years, Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) has strengthened dairy’s ties with Canberra to raise the profile of the issues that matter most to our farmers. ADF has maintained our reputation of acting apolitically, being accessible to all politicians, and being willing to listen.

This year we will continue to build this profile, while simultaneously building on our capacity to deliver value to members.

So far in 2016, key members of the ADF team have visited members in central New South Wales. In February our CEO will visit Western Australia – to talk and listen about priorities for the year ahead. These are the first of many 2016 interstate meetings to follow.

I encourage you to take the opportunity and introduce yourself to our team. The passion and commitment that the ADF staff has to help achieve a stronger future for our industry is evident, and we are all prepared to listen to your thoughts, ideas and constructive feedback.

The beginning of the year has been challenging for farmers. Extreme weather conditions brought drought or very dry conditions in Tasmania, West Victoria, South Australia as well as savage bushfires in Western Australia. ADF is seeking to assist its state members with recovery efforts. I commend the efforts of WA Farmers, Western Dairy and Dairy Australia, in providing practical support and counsel to the affected farmers in WA.

Events like these are a timely reminder that so many aspects of our business are affected by elements beyond our control. ADF is committed to ensure that farmers have the information and resources they need to take control of what they can. Dairy Australia also has a great resource of tools and information to assist in preparation and recovery.

In February, ADF will host an environmental scanning and industry planning workshop with key stakeholders such as our state members and Dairy Australia. These sessions will aid in setting our advocacy priorities for 2016, to establish a sound policy platform which ensures we can capitalise upon growth opportunities delivered by 2015’s advocacy.

I look forward to getting out and about in order to meet with as many members and non-members as possible over the course of 2016 to ensure ADF can continue to deliver value for the industry.

Simone Jolliffe

ADF President

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. 


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