Friday 25 July, 2014
The National Farmers' Federation (NFF) has welcomed the interim report on farm sector representation, the preliminary findings of which were presented at the NFF Members' Council this week.
The report forms part of an independent review of farm representation across the commodity, state and national level. The report confirmed the current farm representation model was under strain, and identified pathways for improvement.
Over the past six months, the review ensured no stone was left unturned. The review undertook extensive consultations with farm organisations and peak bodies, focus groups with farmers and online surveys open to the public.
As we've said before, this is not a report that will gather dust, this is a report that will only gather momentum. As the national voice for Australian agriculture, it is within our duty to review the effectiveness and efficiency of our system. We need to make improvements that provide real benefits for farmers and, more broadly, agriculture across Australia.
Significant changes like these don't happen overnight, but after all, ensuring a strong and sustainable future for the ag sector means also ensuring a strong future for those involved in ag advocacy, fighting for our farmers' future.
For more, read our release here.
After years of debate, the carbon tax was finally abolished with repeal bills passing through the Senate last week. The removal of the tax will see farm businesses benefit, with lowered costs on essential electricity, fertiliser and fuel supplies.
We have consistently called for a repeal of the carbon tax and welcomed the result in Parliament last week. While farmers were not directly taxed, the inclusion of the tax on essential inputs such as fertiliser and electricity meant the tax hit the bottom line of every Australian farm business.
Australia’s farmers play a key role in reducing emissions. As a collective, the sector has reduced an estimated 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in recent years.
Many farmers are also involved with the Carbon Farming Initiative. As part of this, farmers have earned carbon credits through managing vegetation, capturing methane from effluent ponds and supplementing the diet of dairy cows.
We look forward to working with the Government to support farmer participation in the Emissions Reduction Fund—the cornerstone of the Government’s direct action plan. We urge the Government to develop the methodologies required to enable more farmers to access the fund.
For more, read our release here.
Chemical legislation that passed the Senate last week represents a big win for Australian farmers and wider agricultural sector. The new legislation will remove the mandatory requirement to re-register chemicals that are already proven to be safe and effective.
We have been very clear in calling for a streamlined approach to red tape, including the removal of mandatory re-registration. We have welcomed the approach taken by both the Government and opposition this week, reiterating that regulators should focus on managing real risks to human and environmental health, without getting bogged down in bureaucracy.
There’s no doubt that Australian farmers understand effective regulation is necessary. It safeguards business, our environment and our communities. Poorly designed regulation, however, can act like a tax on business, raising costs and stifling innovation.
Here in Australia, we are proud to have one of the strongest and most robust chemical regulatory systems in the world. Our system is based on real science that Australians can trust. The legislation passed this week is a victory of common sense—it will help simplify and enhance our existing regulatory program, not duplicate existing functions. For more, see our release here.
Teaching school kids about where their food and fibre comes from will be the focus of the new Agriculture in Education project, as called for by the NFF. Under the project, $2 million over two years will be provided by the Government to improve understanding of agriculture in Australian schools.
The project will be carried out by the NFF-founded Primary Industries Education Foundation (PIEF) and AgriFood Skills Australia. Together, they will develop a range of agriculture-based online teaching resources for schools across the national curriculum.
Recent studies discovered that student and teacher knowledge of our food and fibre sector was alarmingly low. These results show us the importance of educating the next generation about the relationship between agriculture and everyday activities, from paddock to plate or from seed to shirt. For more, see our release here.
As 'National Farm Safety Week' draws to a close, we encourage all farmers to continue to make farm safety part of the everyday conversation.
As an industry, our safety record is improving, with reductions in the number of farm injury deaths decreasing by 65% over the past two decades. Yet we can still do more. Australian farms are not typical workplaces – they are also our homes. This makes keeping family and friends safe all the more important.
This year’s theme is ‘Safe Farms – Healthy Farmers’ and identifies practical steps that farmers can take to improve the safety and wellbeing of all people on farms. Making safety a focus of everything we do will not only reduce risks to those that live and work on farms, but will also promote greater farm productivity.
To raise awareness of the week, a new free farm safety induction app will be released to help farmers with safety inductions for new workers on their farm. For more, check out the official website here.
> NFF CONGRESS: PRODUCING OUR FUTURE
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