GrainGrowers’ National Policy Group (NPG) held its third meeting for the year in Dubbo last week, prior to the GrainGrowers 60th Anniversary Dinner and Annual General Meeting.
Key topics of discussion included drought policy, agricultural chemicals and the priorities for the 2019 federal election.
NPG members agreed on a seven point policy for drought, focused on improving preparedness measures, improving the farm household safety net and the need to support regional areas. These key priorities include:
1. Increase the viability of farm income insurance products (e.g. Multi-Peril Crop Insurance) through the introduction of a 150 per cent tax incentive on premiums and the removal of stamp duty on premiums in WA, QLD and TAS.
2. Introduce a single national Class 1 Notice for agricultural vehicles and streamline regulation regarding road freight for grain and other farm produce.
3. Improve the effectiveness and flexibility of Farm Management Deposits (FMDs) in Australia, including facilitating inter-generational transfer, increasing the FMD cap above $800,000 and allowing FMDs to be held by companies.
NPG members also accepted and endorsed the National Farmers’ Federation’s proposed outcomes for the Prime Minister’s Drought Summit held today.
A range of issues relating to chemical were discussed by the NPG, including glyphosate, spraydrift and the APVMA’s new 2,4-D label instructions, and recent changes from the NSW EPA requiring individuals using chemicals for weed control to hold a Ground Applicator licence.
The NPG agreed to support Cotton Australia in requests to chemical resellers regarding participation in the voluntary Code of Conduct for the sale of Phenoxy (Group 1) herbicides.
Gearing up for Election 2019
NPG members spent considerable time discussing priorities for the 2019 Federal Election. Discussion centred on GrainGrowers’ key policy pillars of:
1. Promoting efficient freight routes
2. Enabling innovation across the grains value chain
3. Maintaining social licence and sustainability in the grains industry
4. Improving trade and market access outcomes for the grains industry.
Growers are encouraged to contact their local NPG member or the GrainGrowers team at firstname.lastname@example.org to have their say.
Recognising Bruce Schwartz and NPG Northern Election
NPG members acknowledged retiring Northern Region NPG member Bruce Shwartz who stepped down from the NPG at the Dubbo meeting after serving GrainGrowers in a number of roles since 1975.
Bruce leaves big shoes to fill for incoming Northern Region representatives on the NPG – nominations are now open for Northern Region representatives and close Sunday 11 November.
In Bruce’s words, the NPG is “about taking a stand on key grain issues, things like standards, access to chemicals, cutting red tape and getting access to market. I encourage any grower in Queensland or Northern NSW who is interested in a more efficient, profitable and sustainable Australian grains industry to nominate for the NPG.”
GrainGrowers’ National Policy Group is made up of 15 growers elected from across the major grain growing regions in Australia, and informs industry policy. The NPG meets several times a year face to face. Members also hold teleconferences regularly to debate important issues coming up throughout the year.
Current NPG members are:
• Northern Region: Ian Gourley; Keith Harris; Terry Fishpool and Bruce Schwartz
• Southern Region: Richard Rice; Cam Parker; Emma Thomas; Bob McCormack; Mark Hoskinson
• Western Region: Tristan Baldock; Kallum Blake; Michael Hunt; Paul Kelly and Frank O’Hare.