Fighting for our farmers' future

Friday 21 March, 2014

Members' Council meets

The NFF Members' Council met in Canberra on Monday and Tuesday of this week as part of its regular consultation with representatives from each of the State Member Organisations, Commodity Councils and Associate Members.

NFF President, Brent Finlay, outlined the key issues affecting the industry, and the main areas of focus for the NFF and members into the immediate future. Issues high on the agenda at the meeting included: trade, infrastructure, drought policy reform and two of the Government consultation processes underway.

A highlight of the Members' Council meeting was a panel debate held at a dinner function on the first night. The topic was 'drought policy'. NFF CEO and host, Mr Matt Linnegar, was joined by NFF President, Mr Brent Finlay, and special guests: Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture; the Hon Joel Fitzgibbon MP, Shadow Minister for Agriculture; Ms Linda Botterill, Head of the School of Government and Policy at the University of Canberra; Mr Steven Munchenberg, CEO of the Australian Bankers' Association, and; Ms Fran Freeman, First Assistant Secretary of the Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Adaptation and Forestry Division.

Further information on the role and representatives of the Members' Council is available here.

(Photo R-L: Fairfax media's Colin Bettles and ABC's Lucy Barbour with NFF Vice President Christine Rolfe, President Brent Finlay and CEO Matt Linnegar)

NFF in the PM's office

NFF President Brent Finlay and CEO Matt Linnegar met with Australian Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, this week. The meeting provided an opportunity for the NFF to continue to raise key issues impacting on the agriculture sector. Some of the areas discussed included the drought relief package and the need for longer-term drought policy, cuts to red tape, free trade agreements and the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper.

Mr Finlay also took the opportunity to reiterate some of the recommendations outlined in the 2014 NFF Federal Budget Submission.

Free trade must mean a fair go for all

Free trade agreements (FTAs) present major opportunities for our farmers, and indeed the broader agricultural sector. However, if the Government is serious about agriculture being a pillar of the Australian economy, there needs to be genuine commitment to deliver commercial results for our sector.

Several deals are currently being negotiated, including bilateral agreements with Korea, Japan, China and India, and regional agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The NFF continues to push for a good deal for agriculture in each of the agreements and it looks as though the Australian-Japan FTA may soon be concluded.

NFF President, Brent Finlay, and members, met with Japan's political trade representative, Mr Koya Nishikawa, who led a delegation in Canberra this week. Mr Finlay conveyed a clear message that Australian agriculture would only accept a trade agreement that was beneficial for the entire sector. These sentiments have been echoed at all levels of Government ahead of the Minister for Trade's visit to Japan next week.

For further information, see our media release.

25 Years of Landcare

Commemorating the 25th anniversary of Landcare's formation, the NFF has again joined forces with the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) calling for a new decade of action.

Today the CEOs of both the NFF and the ACF got together on a property outside Canberra to take a direct look at the work undertaken on the ground that has delivered dual benefits for the agricultural sector and the environment. The event provided a great opportunity for long-time landcarers, Geoffrey and Sally White, to showcase environmental stewardship on farms.

To signify the NFF and ACF's joint commitment to Landcare, a tree was planted during the event. For more, see our joint media release and public statement here.

Upcoming Events

> NATIONAL CONGRESS dates set
Lock in the 22-23 October for the NFF 2014 National Congress! At 'Producing Our Future' we'll explore core business, left-field ideas and blue-sky opportunities for agriculture at the grass-roots, Australian and global levels. Contact the NFF on 02 6269 5666 for more information.

The NFF AGvocate
Issue 49

In this issue

Members' Council meets

NFF in the PM's office

Free trade must mean a fair go for all

25 Years of Landcare

Upcoming Events

NATIONAL CONGRESS dates set

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