Support for all farmers - no exceptions

Jun 03, 2016

Dairy industry leaders are united around a clear objective: to ensure every Australian dairyfarmer has the capability, tools and support to fully understand their individual business position, and to make decisions about their future based on sound evidence.

The release of Dairy Australia’s Situation and Outlook report last week reinforced that there are tough times ahead – but also that with collaboration, empathy and leadership, measured policy responses and effective support from government, consumers and our own supply chain, we can work towards a stronger future.

To prepare for the next season farmers must have earlier and clearer pricing signals, with a more equitable pricing system that better balances risk along the supply chain of farmers, processors and retailers. Without this, farmers and allied businesses will remain vulnerable. ADF and our state members continue to urge processors to urgently communicate their opening price as soon as possible.

Commonwealth and State Government support in Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia has bolstered programs to strengthen pathways for dairyfarmers and enhanced our ability to support the health and wellbeing of our own. We need detail on these announcements as soon as possible and have been pressing governments to release the criteria for the Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans scheme immediately.

As the industry’s peak body, our longer-term resolution includes significant policy ambitions. We need a more equitable pricing system that better balances risk along the supply chain of farmers, processors and retailers.

To help farmers here and now it is crucial that the full suite of support measures be available to farmers across all dairying regions, as processors begin the process of setting milk prices to be paid from July 1. All dairyfarmers, not only Murray Goulburn and Fonterra suppliers, must have access to these measures. ADF has made this clear in our discussions with Government.

We are aware that the current challenges concern sharefarmers and dairy farm employees too. Dairyfarmers who have previously been ineligible for government assistance due to their permanent residency status are also on our radar. Ensuring our industry can retain skilled, experienced employees is key to safeguarding our future – a message we are taking to Canberra, to ensure all aspects of our workforce, and their needs in this unprecedented circumstance are not forgotten.

As the details are made more clear we will contact our members. We encourage you to keep reaching out to ADF, as well as your state dairy farming organisation and regional development programs to access support.

David Basham

ADF President

ADF not affiliated with milk rally protests

May 24, 2016


Although Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) supports any individuals right to peaceful demonstration, ADF is not in any way affiliated with ‘milk rallies’ being held to protest against milk price cuts.

We appreciate that the protestors are passionate about the dairy industry and finding solutions to help the dairy crisis.

However, we do not believe that this action is the best way to support our industry or find solutions to the challenges we face.

The industry has gained good traction so far in highlighting our plight to consumers, government and the wider community. State Governments in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania have listened to us as industry leaders, and provided policy responses in recent days and weeks. This has included another significant announcement in Victoria today.

We are concerned that rallies will create confusion and detract from the main issue: the financial and emotional wellbeing of our dairy farmers.

ADF continues to be in discussions with both sides of Federal Government on a support package which can be rolled out across the country to affected dairy farmers. Our goal is this: to advocate on behalf of farmers to get immediate support and prevent the issue from occurring in future.

A rally won’t provide this.

A 50c levy would not deliver a solution for our industry on a whole as it would mean farmers in non-exporting markets (such as Northern NSW, Queensland and WA) would be subsidising their south-eastern counterparts.

A levy is not viable or practical solution and further to this we have had indications from both sides of government that they would be unlikely to support it.

Protecting workforce wellbeing

Apr 14, 2016

Implementing formal occupational health and safety plans on farm is not just the right thing to do, it can also benefit businesses, guests heard at the Australian Dairy Industry Council’s (ADIC) Business Breakfast in April.

Addressing an audience of dairy farmers, manufacturers and industry leaders at the event themed ‘Protecting what matters: ensuring the health, safety and well-being of our workforce’, an expert panel explored the opportunities for dairy to improve its workforce safety and well-being.

The panel included Dairy Australia’s Program Manager for Industry Workforce Planning and Action, Bill Youl, Worksafe Victoria’s Bruce Gibson, Lion’s Leader for Safety and Well-being Josh Norton, Field Services Manager at Fonterra Robyn Mitchard and Director of the National Centre for Farmer Health, Dr Susan Brumby. Mr Youl observed that, as well as being the right things to do, safeguarding the workforce makes sense for farm profitability.

“A safe work environment will ensure accidents are minimised, productivity is enhanced and the full benefits of farm and manufacturing facilities realised. Our physical and mental well-being is intrinsically linked to our industry’s success,” Mr Youl said.

ADIC Chair, Simone Jolliffe encouraged the industry representatives in the room to take leadership and drive a culture shift to safeguard the sustainability of the industry’s workforce.

“Dairy farms are not typical workplaces. There are many potential risks, and stressful situations – particularly because we are often operating in a family environment, where there is the added pressure of the day-to-day challenges of running a small business,” Mrs Jolliffe said.

“Dairy Australia is already working with state safety regulators and dairy manufacturers to provide farmers with the tools and training they need to operate safely. As an industry we need to work more collaboratively to ensure uptake and implementation, to move the workforce from ‘knowing’ to ‘doing’.”

The Dairy Industry’s Sustainability Framework has set targets for the industry to achieve by 2020. One of the targets is 100% of on-farm and manufacturing workers to have completed Occupational Health & Safety training by 2020. A further target is zero workplace fatalities. Mrs Jolliffe said the industry is falling behind on both accounts.

“Tragically there have already been two confirmed workplace fatalities in our industry this year. Workplace injuries have also risen. Across Australia, one in five people suffering with mental health challenges. This is not acceptable. We need to lead the industry in prioritising health, safety and well-being – for the benefit of our industry.”

The ADIC made a commitment at the breakfast to drive change across the industry through improved collaboration between service providers, processors and industry representative bodies. For information about occupational health, safety and well-being see www.thepeopleindairy.org.au

The expert panel from left to right, Bruce Gibson, Susan Brumby, Josh Norton, John Versteden, Robyn Mitchard and Bill Youl.


 

What does passing of Dairy Levy Poll Bill mean for levy payers?

Mar 21, 2016

The Dairy Levy Poll process is set to be streamlined following the passing of legislation in March 2016 to alter review procedures while retaining a strong democratic process for farmers.

The passage of the Bill provides certainty around the process for the 2017 levy review process and future reviews. Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) has welcomed the passage of the Bill, re-emphasising that this is not about removing Dairy Australia from scrutiny, but instead about streamlining the process and making sure every levy dollar invested delivers value back to farmers.

ADF thanked the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Hon. Barnaby Joyce and the Department of Agriculture for championing the Bill on behalf of dairy farmers, who voted to make the changes to the process in November 2015.

The changes mean that instead of a mandatory poll, every five years, an industry advisory committee will review whether there is a need to change the levy or conduct a poll. If no change in the levy is recommended, there will not be a poll. However, a poll must be held if it is recommended there be a change in the levy.

The changes also provide a mechanism to allow dairy farmers to request a poll with the support of at least 15 per cent of levy votes.

Now that the legislation is passed ADF will oversee the development of more in-depth procedures for the revised process.

For further information regarding the Dairy Levy Poll process review, visit www.dairylevypollreview.com.au

Select Tags