Tuesday 20 December, 2011
Acknowledge our water savings
The NFF joined farmers at a series of public meetings about the proposed Murray-Darling Basin Plan in St George, Murray Bridge, Shepparton, Griffith and Deniliquin over the past two weeks, hearing the concerns from local residents about the impact of the proposed Plan on their local communities.
At the same time, the NFF has continued to lobby on this issue - calling on the Government to fully acknowledge the contributions that farmers have already made to the water saving effort since water reform began, and to do more to ensure communities are not negatively affected.
Our estimates show that should the proposed Basin Plan go ahead, farmers will have committed around 6,000 gigalitres of water to the environment since water reform began in the 1980s - a vast increase on the 959 gigalitres that the Murray-Darling Basin Authority currently attributes to the agricultural sector.
We are calling on the Government to invest now in infrastructure and water efficiency measures, to commit funds to increase research, development and extension and to engage with local communities. For more, read our media release, or view NFF President Jock Laurie talking Basin Plan on Digital Farm TV.
Seasonal Workers Scheme becomes a permanent resident
The Federal Government has this week announced that the Seasonal Workers Scheme for the Pacific Region and East Timor will become permanent from July 2012 - a very welcome move for Australian horticulturalists.
The NFF was a co-founder of the Pacific Seasonal Workers Pilot Scheme along with the Government, and this announcement recognises the success of this scheme and the important role it continues to play in meeting the seasonal harvest needs of the horticulture industry.
The announcement also included news that a small-scale three year seasonal workers trial will be run for other industries including cotton and cane, both of which face severe labour shortages around their peak seasons. For more, read our media release.
Equal access to telecomms
The NFF's submission to the 2011-12 Regional Telecommunications Review has called on the Government to ensure that all rural and regional Australians have equal access to reliable and affordable telecommunications.
While the national broadband network has the potential to generate significant improvements in telecommunications in country areas, a lot of work still needs to be done to give confidence to those not covered by the new network that they will have access to services via the existing copper landline network and proposed next generation wireless and satellite mobile services.
Merry Christmas from the NFF!
The President, Board, CEO and staff of the NFF wish you a very Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year. Thank you for your support in 2011 - we look forward to working with you again in 2012: the Australian Year of the Farmer.
Please note that the NFF office will be closed from midday on Friday 23 December, reopening 9am Tuesday 3 January.
The NFF AGvocate
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