Australian Dairy Farmers’ (ADF) Policy Advisory Group (PAG) first round of meetings took place in March, identifying priorities for the election year with
in depth discussion about issues continuing to affect farmers’ productivity and profitability.
Markets, Trade and Value Chain PAG Chair, Adam Jenkins said the group has come back refreshed and invigorated about the next 12 months of work.
“2015 saw considerable progress in the Markets, Trade and Value Chain policy focus area, with the implementation of the China-Australia Free Trade
Agreement as well as developments in Competition policy which will foster a stronger business environment for farmers,” Mr Jenkins said.
“Yet the conditions are always volatile for dairy, and we must continue to find ways to build an even more competitive marketplace for farmers to ensure
they can be productive and profitable.”
To set the scene for the key policy issues ahead, Rabobank’s Michael Harvey presented the Markets PAG with the outlook for 2016-17. PAG Chair, Adam
Jenkins, said addressing technical barriers to trade will continue to be a focus of the Markets PAG this year.
On the natural resources front, the Natural Resource Management PAG discussed key issues for the year ahead. A focus of the meeting was the industry’s
climate change policy, with discussions at the meeting engaging both the Climate Change Authority and Minister for Environment, Greg Hunt’s office
Water policy will also remain a major focus for 2016. PAG Chair, Daryl Hoey said 2016 is ‘crunch time’ for the Murray Darling Basin Plan.
“Despite the challenges it is faced with, the Murray Darling Basin is a region filled with opportunity for Australian dairy,” Mr Hoey said.
“We need the government to make sound, well-considered decisions to ensure the viability of dairy businesses in this region can continue long into
the future. This remains a top priority for the Natural Resources PAG for the year ahead.”
ADF has five policy focus areas, each with a dedicated PAG comprised of elected farmer members. These groups are led by a farmer appointed Chair, working
in collaboration with ADF policy officers to discuss priorities and strategic direction.
PAGs recommend policy settings to ADF via the National Council and also act in an advisory capacity providing feedback to Dairy Australia, state dairy
farmer organisations (SDFOs), and other bodies like the National Farmers Federation and the Australian Dairy Products Federation.
Stay tuned to the ADF Update for more information about ADF’s PAG meetings as they roll out over 2016.