South Coast Flood Recovery Assistance

Jun 07, 2016

Since heavy rains and wild winds hit the south east cost on 5 June, flooding has significantly affected dairying regions in Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania. These floods have added further issues to the industry which is already dealing with significant strain and instability.

The Australian dairy industry has mobilised quickly to provide farmers with support. 48 hours on from the damaging events, recovery assistance is the primary focus. We are working to understand the full impact of the floods to ensure targeted assistance for farmers. 

We are working to ensure farmers have adequate access to clean water and power to enable them to keep milking. Farmers are working to protect and care for their animals during these extreme events. Unfortunately, there have been reports of cows being lost to the floods and we empathise with farmers having to face this difficult situation.

Fencing is also an immediate concern, with the high water speed having destroyed many farm fences, as well as loss of pasture and newly sown crops. 

Please see below for information on seeking flood recovery assistance, further updates will be made as the information is made available: 

If my property has been affected, what should I be doing?

  • Try to focus on your priorities by writing a quick checklist of all the jobs that come to mind – classifying them by what needs to be done today, this week and later in the month. Download your Dairy Australia ‘recovery priority list’ here.
  • Take photos of the damage on your property to build up an inventory of losses (i.e. pumps, fencing, feed, etc).
  • Keep records of damage on your property until Helplines become available. Accurate and timely information will help the relevant departments secure the best possible level of disaster assistance.
  • Keep all your receipts associated with recovery efforts.
  • Remember to ask for help. 

What other support is there to assist me?

  • Find out about the options for milking without electricity supply here
  • Find out how to manage the health and welfare of cows during floods here.


Unprecedented times calls for unprecedented response

May 27, 2016

The dairy market shock is the result of unprecedented circumstances, and they require an unprecedented response from our industry.

In a leadership collaboration with our state members , we have driven positive policy responses and commitments from the Commonwealth and State Governments in Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) have strongly advocated the Commonwealth for immediate solutions to help farmers, who have been placed in an extremely difficult situation by the actions of these processors.

We believe these Government responses are broadly positive and reflect the immediate needs of the most affected dairy farmers, but we also need to understand more detail before we can effectively endorse them as being of most value to dairy farming businesses.

ADF sought interest rate assistance for farmers from the Commonwealth and we believe the adapted concessional loan scheme for dairy farmers flagged by Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce will help address this need.

But we do need more urgency in implementation to support continuity for many farmers.

More resources for Rural Financial Counselling is a significant gain and will help to ensure dairy farmers are making decisions based on the best available and most accurate information about their business.

Further support for Dairy Australia’s Tactics For Tight Times initiative and streamlined access to various Government services will also directly benefit farm businesses.

However, we will continue to press for exceptional circumstance recovery grants and to ensure all assistance measures are available to all dairy farmers.

While we understand and support the intent of the proposed dairy price index, we have concerns about how this will work in practice.

And in the dry conditions affecting much of Australia’s dairy production zone, we will continue to press for the release of Commonwealth-owned environmental water.

While we must manage the here and now, our attention is also looking to the longer-term, to better manage volatility and safeguard the future of our industry.

ADF has always advocated that there needs to be a better balance between retailers, processors and farmers.

We continue to pursue processors and governments to ensure milk agreements from 1 July are more equitable, more fair and more transparent for farmers. Equitable competition policy is essential to achieving a better in risk between supplier, retailer and processor.

ADF is calling for:

  • All political parties to support an Effects Test in section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act to assist the ACCC in taking a longer term view of issues and discovering the true impact for consumers, farmers and others of strategies undertaken by those with significant market power.
  • Higher penalties and harsher remedies are necessary to deter and reprimand those who misuse market power. Applying a legislated base fine that is a significant percentage of the revenue derived from the sales affected by anti-competitive behaviour is warranted.
  • That the Federal Treasurer give direction to the ACCC to undertake an immediate investigation of the pricing of milk at $1 per litre for a potential breach of section 46, of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 in relation to predatory pricing, particularly in regional and remote areas.
  • It is important in any commercial relationship that acceptable and ethical business be promoted and undertaken. It is ADF’s belief that enacting a statutory duty of good faith in the Competition and Consumer Act will assist in ensuring this takes place. ADF understands that recent case law has provided a framework upon which a statutory duty of good faith could be based.

Dairy farmers are not asking for a return to past days of a highly-regulated market, and they are not asking for consumers to be punished with a tax as proposed by some on the fringe of our industry.

Our industry is resilient, we know about volatility, and with the right support we will be better positioned to manage for long-term profitability and productivity.

David Basham

ADF President


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