GrainGrowers’ National Policy Group Meeting Update
9 June 2021
GrainGrowers’ National Policy Group (NPG) met on 9 June 2021 to discuss a range of topics including mice, greenhouse gas mitigation, telecommunications, wheat quality, drought, right to repair and biosecurity.
NSW Farmers’ Grains Chair, Matthew Madden and Policy Director, Jodie Dean
provided the NPG with an update on the current Mouse plague issue in NSW and outlined recent NSW Government annoucments to address this significant issue.
Greenhouse Gas Mitigation
As part of GRDC’s CSIRO project on greenhouse gas emissions, NPG was asked to provide views on the key mitigation options which need to be modelled to reduce emissions while maintaining or improving grain operations. The NPG focused on the importance of modelling practices which are practical on farm and relevant for different regions, and ultimately provide farmers with clear options to consider relating to lowering emissions and maintaining profitability. The GRDC/CSIRO project, to be completed later this year, will determine grain baseline data around the current level of greenhouse emissions, opportunities for mitigation and to shape a realistic plan for emission reduction.
Issues with telecommunications and regional connectivity are common among
farming communities across Australia. The NPG outlined issues with
telecommunications especially mobile coverage and the need to better enable
growers to improve their own coverage on-farm. GrainGrowers will use this valuable insight to form a policy position on rural and regional telecommunications and to feed into the Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee (RTIRC) which will report to government later this year.
The NPG was joined by Hugh Robertson from Wheat Quality Australia (WQA), as
well as WQA Council representatives Paul Kelly and Richard Rice (both are former NPG members), to discuss wheat classification. WQA is considering a new wheat classification to better meet customer requirements while providing both growers and breeders more options. The NPG discussed how this could impact the current system through to possible yeild improvements for growers. Much more industry consultation is expected on this issue if a new wheat class is established.
Drought is an enduring feature of the Australian landscape. It had significant
economic, social, and environmental impact and despite some areas no longer being impacted by drought this issue will remain on the agenda to ensure policy and government programs are right for future droughts. The NPG participated in a workshop facilitated by Katie McRoberts from Australian Farm Institute to discuss the Future Drought Fund’s Drought Resilience Research and Adoption Investment Program. The NPG discussed research and adoption priorities the Fund should consider that are relevant to growers.
If you have any thoughts on how the Future Drought Fund should be allocating
resources have your say HERE.
Right to Repair
Agricultural machinery is a significant investment and if there are problems and an imbalance of rights there can be significant ongoing costs for growers. Following on from the ACCC’s release of the final report for the Agriucltural Machinery Market Study May 2021 the NPG was joined by representatives from the ACCC’s Agricultural Unit who provided an overview of the findings. GrainGrowers’ thanked the ACCC for their proactive work in this space and spoke to some of the outstanding concerns the industry has in relation to agricultural machinery and warranties.
Managing Australia’s biosecurity risks are critical to Australia’s agricultural industries. The grains sector is particularly exposed with plant pest such as Khapra beetle being more frequently intercepted at our border. GrainGrowers outlined a situational analysis of the biosecurity system, discussing its shortcomings and areas for improvement and sought views from the NPG on how the areas that matter most to growers on the ground.
The NPG will meet again in July 2021 online. If you would like any further information
about any of the issues discussed or to provide feedback, please get in touch at
ua.moc.sreworgniarg@yriuqne or (02) 9286 2000.