Nov 01, 2015
The Australian Dairy Industry Council’s (ADIC) has expressed concern in a submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Murray-Darling Basin Plan, regarding the impact of the Basin Plan on dairy business viability.
Aug 18, 2015
The Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) has reiterated its long-standing support of the 1500 gigalitre (GL) cap on buybacks in the Murray Darling Basin Plan (MDBP) with its submission to the 2015 Water Amendment Bill last month. The Bill, which will legislate the 1500GL cap as part of the 2750GL target under the Basin Plan, requires bipartisan support to deliver dairy farmers with much-needed certainty about future water availability to sustain their business.
The 1500GL cap provides dairy farmers in the Murray-Darling Basin with much-needed certainty about future water availability to sustain their business. At the same time, environmental water can continue to be recovered through water-saving infrastructure projects, which will benefit the environment, farmers and local communities more effectively than buybacks.
However, there were aspects of the Bill that the dairy industry did not support, in particular the fact that the 1500GL buybacks cap applies only to water recovered towards meeting the 2750GL target. Additionally, the failure to address long-standing limitations in the Water Act 2007 and the Basin Plan in achieving the socio-economic neutrality and triple bottom line outcomes promoted so often by decision-makers is a missed opportunity.
The ADIC’s key recommendations in the submission to the Bill were to:
- Ensure that the 1500GL cap on buybacks includes the 450GL in the Water for the Environment Special Account
- Clarify that the entitlement transfer to the Commonwealth relating to infrastructure and reconfiguration for state programs are excluded in the 1500GL cap on buy backs.
- The Basin Plan socio-economic neutrality test should include collective impacts on irrigation districts, community and water market.
- Amend the Basin Plan to ensure that the 2750GL target is achieved first before any water recovery is counted towards the 3200GL target, and that any water recovered under the Special Account first covers any shortfall to the 2750GL target.
- Clarify that the 450GL “up water” is an up-to amount, not a minimum.
- Enable environmental water trading where the proceeds can be reinvested in works and activities for environmental outcomes, and to cover the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder’s storage and other costs.
Bipartisan support for the legislative change remains a key priority for the ADIC, with representatives meeting with both sides of parliament to ensure the importance of passing the 2015 Water Amendment Bill is heard and acknowledged across the board.
To see the ADIC’s submission to the 2015 Water Amendment Bill click here.
Jun 18, 2015
The news that the Department of Environment will remove unnecessary audit requirements from the On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Programme (OFIEP) has been warmly welcomed by Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF). The relaxation of the requirements, which ADF has been advocating for well over 12 months, will save programme participants in the southern-connected region of the Murray Darling Basin significant time, money and stress.
Jun 05, 2015
Producing more from less is a constant theme on Australian dairy farms. From reusing water in the milking shed, to ensuring the pasture our cows graze on can be effectively turned into milk, efficiency is the number one buzz word on farm.
Consuming resources with care underpins everything we do on farm because we know it will ensure the sustainability of our businesses, our industry and our planet in the decades to come.
This year on World Environment Day, June 5, the United Nations will reinforce the importance of consuming with care. Whether it be adopting renewable energy systems on farm or switching off the lights at the power switch, our individual decisions and actions count towards a larger goal of preserving not only the environment but the well being of humanity and our economies.
On June 5, Australian dairy will stand proud on its continuing commitment to minimising our environmental footprint as part of dairy’s broader commitment to establishing a more sustainable dairy industry. This commitment is recognised and promoted through the industry’s Sustainability Framework.
Demonstrating the interdependent nature of dairy’s profitability, well being and natural resource management, the Sustainability Framework shows the progress dairy has made thus far as well as acknowledging the work left to do by 2020.
On-farm examples of sustainable practices abound. South Australian share farmers, Andy Vickers and Belinda Wright soil tested 20 farm paddocks and were able to reduce application of phosphorus fertiliser to about one-third, meaning big cost savings, less nutrient runoff, reducing green house gas emissions and better environmental outcomes.
Overall, the industry’s Fert$mart nutrient management initiative has helped farmers, including 120 in recent months throughout Tasmania, Gippsland and South Australia, to achieve on average, a savings of approximately $12,000 per farm.
On King Island, a group of nine dairy farmers co-ordinated the installation of solar hot water systems for dairy sheds, an innovation making the most of renewable energy sources and also forecast to cut hot water costs by up to 50%.
From these grand scale projects to the everyday actions, all dairy farmers play an important role in creating a sustainable Australian dairy industry and consuming our resources with care. This includes everything from monitoring electricity consumption and equipment performance and having some level of automated irrigation to manage water use efficiently, to feeding cows a high quality diet to increase milk production and reduce green house gas emissions.
Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) has been advocating for the Federal Government’s continued funding towards energy efficiency programs, as well as enduring investment in R,D&E in the Government’s consideration of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions targets and policy.
Working with Dairy Australia, ADF has lobbied for nationwide funding for free energy efficiency assessments for dairy farmers that has already helped 1,200 farms – with another 200 due for completion by June 2015.
Supportive policy could assist farmers in tackling rising energy costs, while also contributing to the dairy industry’s – and Australia’s more broadly – environmental sustainability. We’re committed to ensuring Australian dairy’s voice is heard through government policies that support our industry, however there are many areas where we can already act to make a difference.