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  • Date Submitted: 2018 - 2018

Farm business and productivity

Drought reform

  • Preview Farm Household Allowance Review (PDF 529.9 kb)
    Submitted to Department of Agriculture and Water Resources on 5 December, 2018

    The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to
    the Review of the Farm Household Allowance (FHA). The Review is an important opportunity
    to collect feedback and data on the effectiveness of the FHA which has now been in place since
    July 2014. In making this submission, the NFF would highlight that the vast majority of
    Australian farmers successfully manage their farm businesses through downturns. We also
    acknowledge that the Coalition Government has taken active steps to improve the FHA and
    other farm assistance programs to help alleviate the impact of drought on farming families and
    rural communities.

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Telecommunications

  • Preview Regional Telecommunication Review (PDF 535.6 kb)
    Submitted to Department of Communications and the Arts on 10 August, 2018

    The NFF consider reliable broadband and telephone services as not only essential for survival in the Australian bush, they are also crucial to the creation of new opportunities in agriculture. State-of-the-art tools such as Big Data and fast internet greatly increase on-farm productivity by enabling farmers to digitally analyse soil moisture, meteorological records and satellite imagery.

  • Preview Consumer safeguards review – Part A – Redress and complaints handling (PDF 244.2 kb)
    Submitted to Department of Communications and the Arts on 3 August, 2018

    Rectifying telecommunication services issues for regional, rural and remote customers is challenging. Those tasked with resolving the issue are often not cognisant of the unique nature and challenges of utilising telecommunication services in rural and remote Australia nor do they have the technical or product expertise to resolve the issue due to the unique technology mix often utilised to attain a service. Rural users pay significantly higher fees for the same telecommunication services than urban customers. It is therefore crucial that telecommunication consumer safeguards are effective in addressing the issues faced by those living and working in regional, rural and remote Australia.

  • Preview Review of the Viewer Access Satellite Television (VAST) (PDF 39.9 kb)
    Submitted to Department of Communications and the Arts on 29 June, 2018

    The NFF considers the provision of television services, both from national public broadcasters and commercial providers, are essential for the general liveability and wellbeing of rural, regional and remote Australians. The NFF considers it appropriate that the Australian Government funds the services given commercial viability and alternate delivery mechanisms are not possible in the areas serviced by VAST. We support the notion that as much as possible a variety of content and regional relevance should be provided through this service, and therefore support VAST funding enabling commercial content in addition to the national public broadcasters.

  • Preview NBN rules regarding consumer information & service continuity (PDF 62.1 kb)
    Submitted to Australian Communications and Media Authority on 23 May, 2018

    The NFF welcomes the stated goal of the Consumer Information Standard to improve the quality and consistency of information provided to consumers about NBN services. It is crucial to ensure that consumers are provided with accurate information to make informed choices when signing up to NBN services. The NFF has been provided with evidence that some CSPs willfully use misinformation to scare consumers into signing contracts for their services and is very concerned about the lack of Consumer Information Standards to date

  • Preview Australian Broadcasting Corporation Amendment (Fair and Balanced) Bill 2017 and Australian Broadcasting Corporation Amendment (Rural and Regional Measures) Bill 2017 (PDF 283.2 kb)
    Submitted to Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications on 18 January, 2018

    Keeping rural, regional and remote Australians connected carries significant community benefit. Overall the NFF considers the ABC plays a positive role for regional Australians and the agricultural sector. NFF has since made a number of representations seeking to ensure there were no further cutbacks to regional services and that they remained a priority. Amending the ABC’s charter for delivery of services to ensure programs contribute to a sense of regional and national identity, as well as including geographic diversity are important steps to ensuring regional services are prioritised. NFF welcomes the regional measures contained in this bill as a means to refocusing and increasing emphasis towards regional services within ABC and is supportive of this bill.

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Transport infrastructure

  • Preview Effluent and Load Restrain Discussion Paper (PDF 34.1 kb)
    Submitted to National Transport Commission on 16 July, 2018

    The livestock industry understands the importance of managing livestock effluent on public roadways to ensure road safety, animal welfare, biosecurity, amenity, environmental and business interests. The industry continually works to improve these outcomes and supports any initiatives that facilitates positive change along industry supply chains. It is unrealistic to expect there be absolutely no effluent escape from livestock trucks. NFF therefore supports option 3 to allow for a minor, incidental or unavoidable loss of part of a load.

  • Preview Safety assurance for automated driving systems consultation regulation impact statement (PDF 32.7 kb)
    Submitted to National Transport Commission on 10 July, 2018

    NFF highlighted that the consultation paper is highly focused on passenger vehicles in metropolitan/urban areas, and would suggest that the scope of this and future inquiries be extended to include rural and remote areas as well as a broader range of vehicles. The potential for driverless vehicles (and other farm machinery) to revolutionise the way farming business is conducted is significant. As the NFF is a supporting partner of the Australian and New Zealand Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI), the NFF supports the views expressed in the ADVI submission.

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Farm chemicals

  • Preview Consultation on streamlining regulation of agricultural and veterinary chemicals (PDF 256.6 kb)
    Submitted to Department of Agriculture and Water Resources on 27 August, 2018

    Australian farmers need a system of chemical regulation and registration that facilitates the introduction of new chemicals onto the Australian market in a timely and cost efficient manner. The NFF commends the Government on their commitment to this process and would support passage of the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 through Parliament.

  • Preview Proposed approach to spray drift management (PDF 48.7 kb)
    Submitted to Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority on 30 March, 2018

    Preventing spray drift is an essential aspect of using agricultural chemicals responsibly. The NFF is supportive of the aims of the APVMA’s proposed spray drift management approach to enable more reasonable buffer zones to be set; provide clearer label instructions and increased flexibility; and support the use of drift reducing technologies

  • Preview Off-label Use Harmonisation Proposal (PDF 271.9 kb)
    Submitted to Department of Agriculture and Water Resources on 8 March, 2018

    Off-label use currently differs dramatically between jurisdictions, putting farmers operating in states and territories that have strict off-label use regulations at a competitive disadvantage. It is critical that any harmonisation of off-label use is comprehensive and the mechanisms to implement, manage and monitor compliance is also harmonised. The NFF agrees that off-label harmonisation would assist in compliance costs, reduce confusion and provide confidence with our international markets. We do not, however, support the proposed approach outlined in the discussion paper, particularly in relation to the proposed approaches for consistency in agricultural off-label uses.

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Biotechnology/GM

  • Preview Technical review of the Gene Technology Regulations 2001 (the Technical Review) (PDF 31.2 kb)
    Submitted to Office of Gene Technology Regulator on 21 February, 2018

    The NFF recognise the potential of gene technology as a valuable tool within agricultural production systems. The NFF is supportive of the Technical Review’s objective to clarify definitions and bring GT regulations in line with scientific developments. The NFF recognise that a range of new technology has been developed that creates ambiguity as to what constitutes a GMO, and the NFF is supportive of the OGTR clarifying these definitions, particularly in relation to organisms that have not inherited traits as a result of GT or those that are temporarily modified but the modification is no longer present in the organism.

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Fuel and energy (Biofuels and bioenergy)

  • Preview Monitoring of electricity supply in the National Electricity Market discussion paper (PDF 442.4 kb)
    Submitted to Australian Consumer and Competition Commission on 19 December, 2018

    The NFF’s submission supports the need to better monitor the prices, profits and margins in the supply of electricity in the National Electricity Market (NEM). A failure in policy, regulatory design and competition in the electricity sector has contributed to excessive electricity prices for Australian farmers. To that effect, a transparent and robust analytical framework for monitoring is critical to safeguard the NEM to ensure adequate competition. The submission provides for consideration a number of comments as they relate to the agricultural sector, including retail price data, wholesale price, profitability and the impact of policy developments.

  • Preview Consultation on Default Market Offer Price (PDF 400.9 kb)
    Submitted to Australian Energy Regulator on 5 December, 2018

    The NFF submission supports measures to improve transparency in the market for residential and small businesses as recommended in the ACCC Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry Report. Retail offers have been opaque and confusing, preventing customers from selecting the best market offer. People in regional and rural Australia already pay significant higher power prices than those in the city so measures that improves their ability to discern retail offers are offered. However, in developing the DMO, the default price should be communicated in a way that is simple, accessible and easy to understand.

  • Preview Underwriting New Generation Investments consultation Paper (PDF 238.0 kb)
    Submitted to Department of Environment and Energy on 9 November, 2018

    The NFF’s submission supports the development of a program to underwrite new generation investments to address market failure and improve competition in the electricity market. The program follows one of the many recommendations from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Retail Electricity Pricing Inquiry report. The NFF supports a well-designed program consistent with the intent and objectives of the ACCC’s recommendation and the submissions seeks to clarify several key aspects of the program design. These include: Transferring of risk from investors to taxpayers, the definition of ‘firmed capacity’, redevelopment of existing projects via upgrades or life extensions and its emissions reduction capacity. The NFF welcomes a program which is: technology-neutral, supports low cost dispatchable sources of electricity, and promotes competition in the market.

  • Preview National Energy Guarantee Consultation Paper (PDF 357.4 kb)
    Submitted to Energy SecurityBoard on 21 March, 2018

    The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) welcomes the opportunity to make a submission to the National Energy Guarantee Consultation Paper. Access to affordable and reliable electricity supplies for all users is paramount to maintaining the international competitiveness of Australian agriculture. NFF welcomes the Government moving to a technology neutral position in the generation sector that addresses reliability concerns and emissions reductions in a rapidly transforming national electricity system, but there remains a degree of scepticism that retail prices for agricultural customers will be lowered as a result.

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Family business

  • Preview Submission to Treasury: Review of Unfair Contract Term Protections for Small Business Discussion Paper (PDF 449.0 kb)
    Submitted to Treasury on 21 December, 2018

    The NFF considers protections for small businesses against unfair contract terms (UCTs) in
    standard form contracts crucial to addressing the structural inequalities between small farm
    businesses and larger businesses that generally possess the resources and market power to
    secure contracts that reflect their preferences. To this end, the NFF recommends that breaches
    of section 23 of the Australian Consumer Law be enforced through infringement notices and
    civil penalties.

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Rural Health

  • Preview Accessibility and quality of mental health services in rural and remote Australia (PDF 308.1 kb)
    Submitted to Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee on 11 May, 2018

    The NFF asserts that all Australians should have equitable access to appropriate health services, regardless of their geographical location. As such, funding models for rural health should ensure equity of access to health professionals and recognise the higher costs of operating in regional, rural and remote areas. Currently there is a significant lack of access to mental health services in rural and remote communities, and significant delays between the time of referral and availability of those services. It will be important for mental health services and capacity to develop in sync with regions such as Northern Australia as their population grows.

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Access to markets

Trade reform

  • Preview Senate Committee inquiry into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (PDF 169.6 kb)
    Submitted to Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade on 31 May, 2018

    The revived TPP-11 agreement spells important progress for Australian farmers, and the NFF welcomes significant reductions and elimination of tariffs on a range of agricultural products including red meat, cereals, dairy and wine. This means Australian food and fibre products are more competitive in the global market.

  • Preview Framework Agreement between Australia, of the one part, and the European Union and its Member States, of the other part (PDF 153.7 kb)
    Submitted to Joint Standing Committee on Treaties on 27 April, 2018

    The NFF supports the EU Framework Agreement and urges the Australian Government to use it as a stepping stone for a comprehensive and high-quality trade agreement with the EU that substantially improves market access for all of Australia’s important agricultural commodities, including red meat (beef, sheepmeat and goatmeat), dairy, horticulture, grains, sugar, cotton, rice and wool.

  • Preview Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (PDF 175.8 kb)
    Submitted to Joint Standing Committee on Treaties on 20 April, 2018

    To ensure Australian agriculture can reap the benefits of TPP-11 that will increase global market opportunities for Australian produce, it is vital that the measures outlined in the agreement are implemented as soon as possible. The NFF, as the peak industry body representing Australian farmers and agribusiness, seeks the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties to endorse without delay binding treaty action for TPP-11.

  • Preview Free Trade Agreement between Australia and the Republic of Peru (PDF 171.8 kb)
    Submitted to Joint Standing Committee on Treaties on 20 April, 2018

    The Peru FTA offers key market access opportunities for Australia’s agriculture exports by creating additional demand for Australian farm exports in Peru, a fast-growing market with a sizeable population of 31.5 million. The NFF, as the peak industry body representing Australian farmers and agribusiness, seeks the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties to endorse without delay binding treaty action for the Peru-FTA.

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Competitiveness

  • Preview Review of Unfair Contract Term Protections for Small Business (PDF 449.0 kb)
    Submitted to Treasury on 21 December, 2018

    The NFF considers protections for small businesses against unfair contract terms in standard form contracts crucial to addressing the structural inequalities between small farm businesses and larger businesses that generally possess the resources and market power to secure contracts that reflect their preferences. To this end, the NFF recommends that breaches of section 23 of the Australian Consumer Law be enforced through infringement notices and civil penalties.

  • Preview Review of Unfair Contract Term Protections for Small Business (PDF 449.0 kb)
    Submitted to Treasury on 21 December, 2018

    The NFF considers protections for small businesses against unfair contract terms in standard form contracts crucial to addressing the structural inequalities between small farm businesses and larger businesses that generally possess the resources and market power to secure contracts that reflect their preferences. To this end, the NFF recommends that breaches of section 23 of the Australian Consumer Law be enforced through infringement notices and civil penalties.

  • Preview Potential ACCC “class exemption” for collective bargaining (PDF 283.4 kb)
    Submitted to ACCC on 28 September, 2018

    While the NFF considers markets to be the primary arbiter of agricultural supply and demand, government regulation is needed to enable competition in parts of the agricultural supply chain where competition did not previously exist. Consequently, the NFF considers a “class exemption” for collective bargaining a potential way to address the structural inequalities in bargaining power between farmers and buyers.

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Natural Resource Management

Water and the Murray-Darling Basin Plan

  • Preview Consultation on efficiency measures: Additional criteria for on-farm projects (PDF 610.4 kb)
    Submitted to Department of Agriculture and Water Resources on 28 November, 2018

    The NFF’s submission raises two concerns: the consultation process and the questions related to additional criteria. The consultation is critical process in addressing concerns related to the implementation of the 450 GL efficiency measures. However, to date, the consultation process has been inadequate, superficial, and has not addressed community concern, but rather has fostered community distrust. This consultation was the first time for many communities to voice their concerns to the Government. Before any recovery of the 450 GL, the criteria must: be strengthened and extended to all projects; assess socio-economic impacts on a local, regional and basin level, recognising that any loss in the consumptive pool cannot be recovered; and off-farm projects should be pursued.

  • Preview Draft Report on the Murray-Darling Basin Plan: Five-year assessment (PDF 1,002.4 kb)
    Submitted to Productivity Commission on 10 October, 2018

    The NFF’s 10 October 2018 submission responds to the Productivity Commission’s draft recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the implementation of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. These recommendations are critical moving forward into the implementation phase of the Plan. The NFF broadly supports recommendations in the report, but caution is needed to extended deadlines of water resource plans and the supply measures and must be done on a project-by-project basis. The NFF agrees in principle to splitting up the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, but needs to be done quickly without creating transitional inertia that would slow down the implementation process of the Plan.

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Native Title

  • Preview Exposure Draft – Native Title Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 (PDF 412.4 kb)
    Submitted to Attorney-General's Department on 13 December, 2018

    The NFF's submission responds to the exposure draft of amendments to the Native Title Act (Cth) 1993. The NFF notes schedules 1,2,4,5,6,7,8 and 9, and provides particular response to schedule 3, a vehicle which will undermine certainty and needs to be examined far more rigorously from a policy perspective.

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Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act

  • Preview Independent review of interactions between the the EPBC Act and the agriculture sector (PDF 920.9 kb)
    Submitted to Dr Wendy Craik on 22 June, 2018

    The NFF’s 22 June submission to Dr Wendy Craik’s Independent review of the interactions between the EPBC Act and the agriculture sector reflects the NFF’s ongoing advocacy for changes to the EPBC Act to improve farmers’ experience with the Act. The NFF makes a number of recommendations, including: changes to the Threatened Species Scientific Committee; better administration and communication of the Act; accuracy of mapping; and, a market-based approach to valuing the environment.

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Biosecurity, health and welfare

Biosecurity and quarantine

  • Preview Biosecurity Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Act 2017 (PDF 30.4 kb)
    Submitted to Department of Agriculture and Water Resources on 30 January, 2018

    The NFF is strongly supportive of the amendments proposed by the Biosecurity Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Act 2017 and believe that these amendments will go some way towards a more robust, flexible and modern ‘package’ designed to service Government and industry needs well into the future. NFF seeks Federal Government commitment to maintain, as one of its highest priorities, the adequate resourcing of its responsibilities under the legislation, particularly in relation to penalties imposed on parties that do not comply with biosecurity legislation. NFF sees an important part of this commitment being the retention and ongoing training of biosecurity officers required for the Government to fulfill its obligations.

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Animal Welfare

  • Preview Review of Regulatory Capability and Culture in the Regulation of Live Animal Exports (PDF 278.3 kb)
    Submitted to Department of Agriculture and Water Resources on 26 June, 2018

    The NFF and its members remain committed to the future of Australia’s live export trade that meets the world class animal welfare standards set by our livestock producers and all reasonable Australians. It is clear that objective measurements such as mortality do not provide a full picture of the success of a voyage and we are supportive of the Australian Government’s adoption of the McCarthy Review’s recommendations that aim to shift the metric from mortality to the condition of animals throughout the voyage.

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Federal Budget Submissions

Federal Budget Submissions

  • Preview 2018-2019 Pre-Budget Submission (PDF 890.9 kb)
    Submitted to Treasury on 11 January, 2018

    Australian agriculture needs the Australian Government to reward effort, encourage regional entrepreneurship, provide a supportive regulatory environment and the critical infrastructure in both our regions and our cities that enable farmers to innovate, increase productivity and get their products to domestic and global markets. The NFF Pre-Budget Submission outlines 7 key ingredients and 60 detailed recommendations in our recipe for a $100 billion industry by 2030:

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