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Friday, January 13, 2017
Back in November 2016, we welcomed the announcement by the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) to reduce the northern basin target.
It was pleasing to see the MDBA proposing to reduce the water recovery targets in the Northern Basin by 70GL following a rigorous socio-economic analysis in the north, which showed significant adverse impacts on agriculture and regional communities.
So far, 1966 GL had been recovered or more than 70 per cent of the original 2750GL plan for the environment, including 1651 GL in the southern-connected Basin comprising northern Victoria, southern NSW and SA.
The Basin Plan is affecting water availability and affordability, particularly for dairy farmers in shared irrigation districts. This is presenting a significant adjustment challenge. The Murray- Darling Basin Authority is due to submit its first five-year review in mid-2017. It has promised to work with States, regions, community and industries to inform this review.
The most affected by the Basin Plan is the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District (GMID) which supply’s more than 80% of the Basin’s milk.
It is imperative that any further implementation beyond the 2750 GL Basin Plan is done in a way that balances social, economic and environmental outcomes in a way that limits any potential negative socio-economic impacts of water recovery.
ADF is working closely with our state members and in partnership with the NFF and other commodity and irrigation industry peak bodies to get the best outcome for the industry.
In response to the current implementation of the Basin Plan, ADIC will be focusing on the following policy positions in 2017:
- Meet the 2750GL target in full before considering the 450GL ‘upwater’ provided no additional negative socio-economic impacts are caused.
- Review the modelling to account for the full 650GL in offsets as long as the environmental works can deliver similar or better outcomes to 2750GL with less water.
- Assess the potential socio-economic effects of the 450 GL ‘upwater’ before commencing any recovery of it.
- Change the socio-economic neutrality test so that it is measured on a community level.
- Call on the Ministerial Council (MINCO) to determine the terms of reference for the socio-economic impacts study.
- Request environmental water efficiency be maximised before recovering water from irrigation communities.
What we need now is the Murray Darling Basin Plan and the law that sits behind it to have the same flexibility as our policy position. The Basin Plan is
already having a significant impact on farmers, manufacturers and the rural communities they support, with more to come as recovery deadlines approach.
Acting ADF President
Thursday, December 22, 2016
As you may have heard, David Basham stood aside as ADF President last week for a period of three months. His decision to run for the Seat of Finniss in the South Australian State Government came about quite suddenly, we wish him every success with his campaign.
Another announcement was the appointment of Terry Richardson to act in the role of ADF President. Terry Richardson jointly operates a dairy farm with his
family in Deans Marsh, south west Victoria, where he has lived since 2004 and has a 550-milking herd.
Terry was appointed as an Australian Dairy Farmers Business Director in November 2015 and was the logical choice for acting President due to his background and experience.
Holding several positions in the dairy industry, both in New Zealand and Australia, he was a director of Kiwi Co-operative Dairies for seven years as well as a dairy consultant with Agriculture New Zealand. After moving to Australia, he joined his local UDV branch and was later appointed to the South West Regional Extension Committee. He was previously Chairman of Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Company and has been a director of the company for eight years, a role he still holds.
There has been some talk in media circles that Terrys position at the Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Company is a potential conflict of interest.
The ADF Board asked Terry to act as the ADF President during the period of leave David has taken from the ADF Board. Members of Boards of most organisations can occasionally have circumstances where there could be a possible conflict and the important thing is that the Board members recognise the possibility of conflict and manage it accordingly.
This year has presented unprecedented challenges for the entire dairy sector. ADF has remained focused on laying strong foundations that builds resilience rather than leaving farmers vulnerable and we will continue to advocate strongly on their behalf.
The events of 2016 have given ADF the opportunity to really cement our working relationships with state members - QDO, NSWFarmers, SADA, TFGA, UDV, WAFarmers, and industry partners such as Dairy Australia and Australian Dairy Products Federation.
Continuing to work together will give us the know-how and resilience to support dairy farmers to overcome adversity and thrive in the long term.
This season has been one of the kindest seasons we have had in many years. The extended season of grass growth has improved bottom lines and with world market prices continuing to strengthen over the second half of the year, things are looking much better for the future than they were mid-year.
May 2017 treat everyone in the dairy industry better than 2016 and we wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a safe, prosperous New Year.
Australian Dairy Farmers
Friday, December 02, 2016
ADF has long-advocated for change to tackle big business misusing its power and reducing competition in markets.
Yesterday, the last day of Parliament for 2016, Treasurer Scott Morrison announced the introduction of the s46 ‘effects test’ legislation 2016 into the Federal Parliament.
The introduction of an effects test is in line with competition policy around the world – Australia will be joining the clear majority of developed nations who already have established effects tests.
The provision, which will be included in section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010, will address the current unequal distribution of market power and encourage transparency to the benefit of producers, consumers and retailers.
The considerable amount of work, investment, planning and risk required to produce, transport, process, distribute and deliver a perishable product, fresh milk, on a daily basis is not reflected in the current discounted price of dairy by major retailers.
Supermarket discount tactics are directly affecting market supply and demand functions, effectively blocking processors from being able to provide necessary stronger prices to farmers to stimulate milk production.
We are looking forward to the ‘effects test’ legislation being passed early next year.
Another major development that occurred in Parliament yesterday was the resolution of the backpacker tax.
ADF have consistently said that we believe it is reasonable for backpackers to pay some tax, but 32.5 per cent was too high.
Led by National Farmers Federation (NFF), ADF and our state member organisations have lobbied for a decision over the past 18 months and we can honestly say it is a huge relief.
The impact of months of indecision have been felt across the dairy sector. What we really need now is to get the message out there that backpackers are welcome on our farms and they will receive a fair tax rate for their work.
We thank the NFF and our members for their hard work to get this across the line. We know that this has not been easy and the process was long, however, we adapted and united as an agricultural industry to secure a deal which benefits farmers, backpackers, tourism and regional communities.
It is important to note that although we are small team at ADF, we remain committed to driving strong policy to transform the way our industry operates for the better.