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NFF wins national gong for Public Affairs campaign

14 October 2008

THE National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) has taken out the Highly Commended Award in Public Affairs at the Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA) 2008 national ‘Golden Target Awards’, announced at a gala ceremony in Fremantle overnight.

NFF General Manager - Public Affairs Brett Heffernan and Public Affairs Officer Emma Keogh won peer recognition for Drought Preparedness In A Changing Climate – the NFF’s campaign to fundamentally change Australia’s drought policy by championing new ‘drought preparedness’ measures.

A generational policy shift, the NFF drove a new vision for how Australia deals with drought ahead of, throughout and following the 2007 federal election leading up to the 2008 Federal Budget, gaining acceptance of, and generating support for, better drought-proofing farms in the context of a climate adaption and mitigation response.

The campaign secured a Government commitment to drought preparedness measures and recognition of the NFF’s new direction for drought policy, beginning with an initial $130 million outlay under the 2008 Federal Budget.

Ahead of the 2007 federal election, the NFF injected drought preparedness into the electorally-potent climate change issue. Seizing upon the confluence of timing (election) and public interest (climate change), the NFF leveraged these into support for its proactive and forward-looking drought management and climate change solution – calling on both sides of politics to “work with farmers to better drought-proof Australia and, over time, reduce the need for drought relief”.

Championing the need for an Australian Government, of any political persuasion, to adopt its drought preparedness initiative, the NFF asserted that “we, as a nation, must rethink how we plan for, and deal with, drought in a changing climate”.

During the election, the NFF undertook a national (metropolitan, regional and internet) advertising campaign, which served as a ‘lightning rod’ for drought preparedness. Benchmark research prior to the campaign revealed NFF was on solid ground, while tracking research showed messages resonated and gained momentum.

Before, during and after the election, and leading up to the Federal Budget, the NFF generated extensive, prominent and on-message free-media (press, radio, television and internet) coverage, as well as complementary NFF communications for target audiences. These formed a powerful and highly-influential Public Affairs campaign; securing positive media attention; community, NFF-member and third-party support; manifesting in ‘political will’ behind the NFF’s policy push.

The campaign formed part of the NFF’s broader community awareness program to positively reposition farming, especially in the mindset of metropolitan Australians, through proactive, ‘in touch’ and constructive engagement by leading on issues of national importance.

The 2008 Golden Target Award brings Mr Heffernan’s tally of PRIA gongs to 11 (six state and five national) and Ms Keogh’s to five (three state and two national).

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

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