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Farmers go Online to Test New Agricultural Monitoring System

26 April 2006

THE National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) is encouraging Australian farmers to log on and test drive the live pilot version of the new National Agricultural Monitoring System (NAMS).

The NAMS live pilot, launched by Primary Industries Ministers in Sydney today, is an important step towards streamlining the application and assessment process for Exceptional Circumstances (EC) via the new Internet-based resource.

The NFF is optimistic NAMS will lead to more timely EC assessments, reducing some of the inconsistencies between the states’ and territories’ respective drought declaration systems. The current system focuses on dryland/broadacre industries, and NFF is keen to ensure that the system is expanded to encompass irrigated and intensive industries over the next 12 months.

In providing industry endorsement at today’s launch, NFF Vice-President Charles Burke said: “NAMS will assist in reducing the burden farm organisations and rural communities face in preparing EC applications, by providing a single information resource.”

“Still under development, the live pilot gives farmers and rural communities the opportunity to explore and assess the information available, test the mapping and reporting functions, and, importantly, provide feedback on whether the new system measures up.”

NAMS brings together current and historical climate, production and commodity information, with the capacity to generate detailed reports at regional, state or national levels. While NAMS will not provide farmers or communities with a definitive answer on whether they qualify for EC support, it will significantly reduce the time involved in preparing an EC application.

State Governments will be able to lodge EC applications quicker and the National Rural Advisory Committee (NRAC) will be able to commence and conclude their EC assessments faster.

The NFF has been involved in the development of NAMS through its membership on the NAMS Advisory Reference Group, and a number of NFF member organisations have been provided pre-release briefings on the system.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Australian, State and Territory Governments and other interested groups to further develop the capacity of NAMS to inform EC assessments and as a broader agricultural risk management tool for Australian farmers,” Mr Burke added.

“The NFF is optimistic that the collaborative commitment that national, state and territory governments have demonstrated in developing NAMS, will now extend to broader elements of National Drought Policy Reform.”

The NAMS live pilot is accessible online at: www.nams.gov.au, and provides an opportunity for public comment on the system prior to it becoming operational in July 2006.

Media Enquiries: Brett Heffernan on (02) 6273 3855 or 0408 448 250.

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