With the election over, it's time to get things done

Jul 15, 2016

After ten days of vote counting, this week Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) congratulates the Coalition Government on its re-election.

As an industry, dairy has enjoyed a constructive relationship with the Coalition throughout its previous term, and we look forward to continuing that spirit of this engagement.

With the election behind us, promises made can now be translated into concrete action.

Although the ministry will not be sworn in until next week, ADF has already met with the Department of Agriculture’s advisors to progress the roll out of key support measures announced in the Dairy Support Package. In particular we continue to highlight the urgency in providing immediate access for all affected farmers to Concessional Loans and the Farm Household Allowance support.

Importantly, concerns raised by farmers who have been working to access these measures, including by share farmers, are being taken seriously and will continue to be progressed with the government.

We will continue to work with the Coalition and the opposition to address other key priorities for the dairy industry also, including implementing an effects test to better balance market power throughout the supply chain, invest in rural research and development to build resilience, ensure secure access to sustainable water resources and support a national strategy to address technical barriers to trade.

Over the coming weeks, the ADF policy advisory groups will continue to meet in Melbourne to cement our priorities for the new government. Building industry resilience, as well as addressing the lack of transparency throughout the supply chain are on our agenda.

July has begun the same way June came to an end - with wild weather and floods challenging many dairying regions and low milk prices meaning revised budgets and planning across all farms.

As we work together to weather these storms we must remember that we are a resilient industry with a long, sustainable future ahead. Our profitability and therefore resilience as an industry depends greatly on the support of the Australian public.

We must continue to remind the community that dairy farmers – regardless of the challenges they face are good business people, who care for their cows, work to enhance the wellbeing of their people and that every efficiency we make on farm has ties to minimising our impact of the environment.

David Basham

Acting ADF President

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

John McQueen to help lead ADF forward

Jun 20, 2016

ADF has welcomed back well respected former CEO, John McQueen in an interim role after the departure of Benjamin Stapley, who resigned last week.

As CEO for over 20 years, Mr McQueen stepped down in 2007 – however dairy was never far from his thoughts as a senior agriculture advisor to past Prime Ministers Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard and recently in his independent consultancy.

Prior to his time at the helm of ADF, John held the position of CEO at the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme (ADHIS). John also spent time working with ABC-TV’s Science Unit, producing, researching and directing programs such as the first three series of Towards 2000.

Mr McQueen’s significant policy expertise, strong industry relationships and political connections are a very welcome addition to the team at ADF, which is working hard to support farmers through a period of unprecedented challenges.

Outcomes-focused, non-prescriptive is a mantra that John is proud of and will continue to be part his approach in his return to ADF.

 

 

Nation-wide roadshow kicks off in Tasmania

Jun 17, 2016

Representatives from Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) embarked on a series of national roadshows beginning in Tasmania on 4 May, in partnership with state dairy farming members.

Comprised of a series of farmer focused forums across the course of 2016, the roadshow offers farmers the opportunity to engage with national and state dairy member representatives on the issues most important to them and their region.

The roadshow is also an opportunity to get up to speed on progress and developments which have occurred over the past year, as well as talking through the industry’s election priorities for 2016.

ADF Senior Policy Manager, David Losberg said the regional forums would provide farmers with the opportunity to discuss the issues of critical importance to their region.

“Our industry is experiencing unprecedented challenges at present and we want our members and the public to engage with us, and ensure their interests are effectively represented. Our aim for these forums is to help provide clarity on the policy support mechanisms secured on farmers’ behalf and facilitate opportunities to make recommendations for future improvements.”

“Now more than ever it’s important that our farmers know who is representing their interests, and that we are tirelessly working on your behalf with minimal resources to gain the results farmers need to be successful in businesses and provide succession opportunities.”

Since May, ADF has visited dairy regions in Tasmania, New South Wales and Queensland. Queensland Dairyfarmers Organisation President, Brian Tessmann said the forums were a valuable opportunity for members to air their thoughts and express their needs to the people who represent them.

“The ADF Roadshows are always useful and insightful for our Queensland farmer members. The most recent events in Warwick and Maleny were extremely timely and helpful for our members who had a number of national industry questions given the situation down south.”

“It is important that we continue to work closely with ADF to continue getting results for our members at a national level and events such as these ensure that ADF have the opportunity to hear directly from Queensland farmers.”

The next roadshow forum takes place in Western Australia on 26 July. For more information on the roadshow schedule or any other details please contact Shona McPherson, ADF Media Officer via media@australiandairyfarmers.com.au or mobile 0447 293 844.

 

Representatives from ADF and QDO speak with farmers at the Maleny Dairy event in June. 

 

 

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