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Friday, July 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.
Acting ADF President
Saturday, July 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.
Acting ADF President
Thursday, June 30, 2016
Opening milk price announcements made this week by Murray Goulburn and Fonterra have once again, reinforced the need for improved transparency in the way milk pricing is structured and communicated in Australia.
Not only are the announcements much too late for farmers to properly budget and plan around, but many questions have to be asked to understand them. Add
to the already complex system a loan repayment and the forecast opening price is far from what it first appears.
Both Murray Goulburn and Fonterra’s recent announcements are confusing and difficult to understand – they lack clarity and transparency.
Improving the transparency of the milk pricing system is important, and Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) continues to work with our state members to this
end. It is essential that processors come to the table and discuss this as a collective, to help protect the future of our sector.
No one can dispute that the current market situation for dairy farmers, whether you are a supplier to the export or domestic market, is rough. Even the
best placed businesses will be making difficult decisions.
While we cannot change the milk price, ADF is working hard with our state members to improve the transparency in the milk pricing system and simplify milk
contracts. We are also fighting for farmers to better manage the risk throughout the supply chain so that they do not always bear the financial risk.
This weekend Australia takes to the polls and by next week the successful party will be moving into Parliament. ADF and our state members will be back
in Canberra as soon as the elected party is announced to keep the pressure on.
As an industry dairy has supported its own and will continue to do so. We’ve never asked for a bail out but rather for targeted assistance that will help
get our industry over the current hurdle and better balance risk throughout the supply chain going forward. We need structural change that improves
fairness and brings more balance into the market – competition law can be improved more.
ADF acknowledges the Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans are now available in SA, TAS and Victoria. We welcome this support, and will continue to advocate
that all affected dairy workers are eligible for this assistance.
I encourage all farmers to keep talking to ADF, your state representatives and RDPs. It’s tough for everyone out there right now, and the season ahead
will be challenging. This will go beyond the farm gate, with our service providers and communities likely to feel the pinch too – keep this in mind
and let’s all look out for one another.
Acting ADF President