Fighting for our farmers' future

Tuesday 24 January, 2012

Federal Budget: Continued funding for ag critical

The NFF has released its 2012 Federal Budget Submission, calling on the Government to secure funding for key agricultural programs for the coming year.

The NFF has recognised that this year's Federal Budget will be tough, given the Government's commitment to bringing the Budget back to surplus in 2012-13 - however, this does not mean neglecting key opportunities to invest in growth sectors of the Australian economy, like agriculture.

The NFF Budget Submission outlines ten priority areas for funding of the farm sector by the Federal Government, including infrastructure, research and development, coal seam gas research, labour, skills and education and environmental programs. For more, read our Budget Submission.

First step on foreign investment

The Federal Government released the long-awaited ABARES report into foreign investment last week and used the opportunity to make a number of policy changes in this contentious area.

The ABARES report noted that there had been an increase in foreign investment into Australian agriculture and that overall, this investment has delivered benefits. The report also noted that the information available on foreign investment is limited.

In response, the Government made a number of policy announcements including that they will commence a bi-annual ABS survey to build transparency about foreign investment in agriculture and introduced a new policy statement to inform the National Interest Test underpinning the FIRB processes for agricultural purchases.

The NFF acknowledged the report and noted that the Federal Government’s response did not address all the concerns raised by the NFF or our members, but are a welcome first step in the need for increased transparency about foreign investment, and the need to give greater focus to the Foreign Investment Review Board’s (FIRB) national interest test. For more, read our media release.

Education & skills roundtable

Next week, the NFF will host an Industry Roundtable on the issues of education, skills and labour shortages in agriculture.

This issue is currently firmly in the spotlight, with the Senate Inquiry into higher education and skills in agriculture, the reviews of both the Modern Award and the Fair Work Act, and recent reports that the labour shortage is costing farmers $150m per year.

We already know that our labour force is ageing, that there are fewer young people entering our industry, that drought and other competing industries continue to have an impact on the amount of available labour, that more consistency is required across the agricultural industry in terms of skills and training, and that greater emphasis needs to be placed on agricultural education – from primary school students to tertiary graduates.

The NFF Industry Roundtable aims to address these, and the many other issues regarding education, training, skills and labour facing our industry now, and in the future, and will take place in Canberra on Friday 3 February.

For more information, please contact NFF Manager, IR and Legal Affairs, Brian Duggan on 02 6269 5666.

Reminder: Have your say via our survey

Both the Modern Award and the Fair Work Act will be reviewed early this year - allowing farmers and rural employers to have their say on the impact of the Award and the Act since they came into effect.

The NFF will be making submissions to both the Award and the Act reviews, but to do so, we need your input! Tell us what you think of the Award and the Act and what they mean for your farm business by filling in our quick surveys here.

Positions Vacant at NFF

> Work for ag's peak farm lobby
The NFF is currently seeking a highly motivated individual to fill the role of Manager, Rural Affairs.

Based in Canberra and reporting to the CEO and General Manager of Policy, the Manager, Rural Affairs works closely with the NFF’s senior executive team, including the President, Vice President, Board, Members Council and other NFF Managers.

This senior role is multi-faceted, but key components of the policy portfolio include drought policy, transport, communications, research and development, chemical regulation, food policy and biotechnology. For more, please view the advert for this position, or request a position description by contacting the NFF on 02 6269 5666.

The NFF AGvocate
Issue 8.

In this issue

Federal Budget: Continued funding for ag critical

First step on foreign investment

Education & skills roundtable

Reminder: Have your say via our survey

Positions Vacant at NFF

Work for ag's peak farm lobby

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