Getting ChAFTA over the line requires united front

Sep 30, 2015

Getting the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) ratified will require farmers to show their communities what this opportunity means to them, according to Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) President, Noel Campbell.

Mr Campbell, along with representatives from the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria (UDV) and the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF), was in Northern Victoria as part of a Regional Roadshow which kicked off on Monday 21 September.

The industry used the roadshow to ask as many farmers as possible for their help in getting the China agreement ratified before the end of the 2015 calendar year.

“Farm lobby groups are leading the push to get the deal passed through Parliament.ADF, in collaboration with the State Dairy Farming Organisations has been wearing a path to Canberra, lobbying both sides of parliament and the independent senators to highlight why this deal is important,” Mr Campbell said.

“The ChAFTA is under threat. We need farmers, processors, service providers and regional communities to help us get this deal over the line before the end of the year. We need your help to explain to your neighbours, friends and family why this deal matters for Australia.”

The regional meetings were well attended, with over 100 farmers attending for the first three events in West Victoria. Farmers from all commodities – not just dairy – attended the meetings, demonstrating that the entire farming community is well aware of what is at stake.

Tatura dairy farmer, Ingrid Tysoe said the ChAFTA was about building long term sustainable profitability.

“For farm security, things are going to be a lot better; this gives courage for us to work towards the future,” Ms Tyson said.

"I felt that the session was really informative and it's giving us hope that the dairy industry is looking brighter for us.”

Mr Campbell told attendees that it was essential to highlight that the ChAFTA is a good deal not just for farmers but for the Australian community.

“We worked hard to get a true ‘free trade’ agreement with the ChAFTA last year. With tariffs down to zero over the next four to 11 years on dairy products, we believe this has been achieved,” Mr Campbell said.

“The ChAFTA is a great deal for Australian dairy and a great deal for the Australian community. If ratified this year, the dairy industry alone will see growth in job creation across the value chain. We expect that around 600-700 jobs will be created within the first year of ratification. More dairy jobs means more vibrant, prosperous and growing rural and regional communities across all of Australia's dairying regions.

“I urge all of you to get on board to help us ensure that this deal is implemented this year so that our industry, as well as the broader community can start to take advantage of the benefits this deal brings.”

With meetings in Victoria to conclude on Tuesday 29 September, ADF plans to take the regional roadshow to Tasmania to spread the word about how farmers can help get ChAFTA over the line.


August President's Message

Aug 18, 2015

The Australian dairy industry has historically managed price volatility, global supply and demand issues and the fluctuations of the Australian dollar to good effect, maintaining international competitiveness, innovation and resilience to market volatility.

While we’re in volatile times, there is a lot more to be factored into the market in the next few months. Rather than panic, we need to ensure we are prepared for the short term difficulties facing us and remember that the long-term outlook for dairy is positive, despite current market volatility.

 

Industry needs to work to its strengths as a cost-efficient milk producer of quality dairy products in order to face the expected challenges. Within the industry there are considerable resources and work being applied to help dairy farmers confront the volatility challenge. Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) is working in partnership across the industry and with government to undertake work and analysis to support Australian dairy farmers in their decision making.

It is reasonable to ask why up until now the Australian dairy industry has not been affected to the same degree as New Zealand. Unlike New Zealand Australia has more the 50 percent of its production consumed domestically. This provides a dampening effect on the downward trend of international markets on farm gate pricing. Our product mix has also allowed for the pricing trends to be less severe. However, there is no doubt that this international pricing impact is placing downward pressure on expected farm gate pricing that was not even seen two to three months ago.

Those farmers who supply processors that are uncontracted and exposed to world export pricing should treat the 2015/16 season with a significant amount of caution, understanding their underlying costs and being aware of input costs which will affect profitability.

Whether you’re a farmer, state organisation or peak body, we are all striving for the same outcome – a healthy and sustainable dairy industry. Industry projects such as the Sustainability Framework and the Australian Dairy Vision help provide a strategy for ADF’s efforts. On this note, it is with great pleasure that I welcome Benjamin Stapley as incoming Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of ADF. With a strong background in member advocacy, stakeholder engagement, policy development and media management, Mr Stapley comes into the role after two years as Director of Policy and Regulation at the Plastics and Chemicals Industries Association (PACIA).

I look forward to the fresh perspective and expertise that Ben brings to the role and along with my fellow Directors, National Council and staff look forward to working with him to continually improve the sustainability and profitability of farmers across all dairying regions. I hope you will all join me in welcoming Ben to our dynamic industry when he commences as CEO on 1 September 2015.  

Noel Campbell

ADF President

Dairy remains hopeful of comprehensive TPP outcome

Aug 17, 2015

In the wake of the Maui Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) ministerial meetings, the Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) has re-emphasised the importance of achieving a commercially meaningful outcome for all Australian dairy producers with regards to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP).

While the ADIC is disappointed that a meaningful agreement has not been reached to date, it remains hopeful that in the near future a TPP which is in the best interests of the Australian dairy industry - and importantly the Australian community as a whole, will be completed.

The TPP is a multi-country Free Trade Agreement (FTA) currently under negotiation between Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Japan, the United States, Vietnam, Mexico and Canada.

Sustained economic and population growth is driving an increase in dairy demand for the Asia-Pacific, but to take full advantage of this unprecedented opportunity, TPP must be ambitious, comprehensive and commercially meaningful.

ADIC Chair, Noel Campbell said there is still a lot of work to be done and key dairy market access outcomes across the TPP remain unresolved.

“Major dairy players must recognise the importance of trade liberalisation and honouring previously agreed positions to advancing negotiations in a positive manner,” Mr Campbell said.

“A commercially meaningful outcome for the TPP would provide benefits to all countries involved, their industries and consumers. Yet in order to achieve positive results across the board all TPP nations must demonstrate a willingness to negotiate in good faith.”

Mr Campbell acknowledged the efforts of the Minister for Trade, the Hon. Andrew Robb, his staff and the team of dedicated negotiators who have worked on its behalf.

“We will continue to promote the interests of Australian dairy as negotiations progress, and hope to see a comprehensive agreement reached in the near future.”

The ADIC remains are committed to working Government to reach a transformative outcome that provides opportunity for its farmers and processors.

To find out more about the ADIC’s work to liberalise access to key dairy export markets see here


ADIC reiterates need to implement China-Australia FTA in 2015

Jul 31, 2015

The Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) has reiterated the importance of ratifying the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) within the 2015 calendar year, to ensure the benefits can reach Australian producers as quickly as possible.

Any delay in implementation of the deal beyond 31 December 2015 will cost Australian dairy between $20 million and $60 million in tariffs. This will make it more difficult for the Australian industry to compete and gain further market share.

ADIC Chair, Noel Campbell said while the council recognised that debate about the ChAFTA is part and parcel of a vibrant democracy, the Parliament needed to keep in mind the opportunities at stake for agriculture and food production.

“For Australian dairy to grow and invest in our future profitability, we will require markets that offer a way forward and match our progress,” Mr Campbell said.

“China’s population is set to reach 1.6 billion by 2050 offering enormous opportunity to sustainably grow beyond domestic markets. Our opportunity in China is underpinned by their demand for high quality, safe, value-added products such as infant formula.

Mr Campbell reiterated that parliamentary support for the agreement, that sees the removal of all tariffs on dairy imports over a decade, remains essential.

“With a long record of innovation and adaptation to changing conditions and markets, Australia’s dairy producers are in a strong position to meet the particular demands of boosting exports to China and growing our market share,” Mr Campbell explained.

The Australian dairy industry has had a long and close relationship with China and ChAFTA will allow our industries to further develop this long-term relationship to the mutual benefit of both countries.

Timing is of the essence. If farmers are to maximise benefits from the removal of tariffs then the deal must be implemented in this calendar year.”

The ADIC looks forward to working with both sides of Government to ensure the implementation of the ChAFTA by 31 December 2015. 

 


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