GrainGrowers’ National Policy Group Meeting Update
17 & 18 March 2021
GrainGrowers’ National Policy Group (NPG) met on 17 and 18 March 2021 to
discuss a range of topics including biosecurity, telecommunications, sustainability, the R&D system, trade and competition policy. This was the first meeting for new NPG members Damien Sommerville, Judith Foss and Tracy Lefroy, and welcome back Frank O’Hare and Tristian Baldock, the Western Region representatives to the NPG.
To kick start the meeting the NPG was joined by seven industry leaders to discuss the topic ‘Growing or Slowing: a five-year grain forecast’. This session was a fabulous opportunity for the NPG to consider not only how far the industry has come but also the opportunities (and challenges) that lie ahead. Facilitated by General Manager, Policy and Advocacy Zachary Whale, the panel featured Tony Williams (Managing Director GRDC) Johnathan Wilson (CEO, Grains Australia) Richard Simonaitis (CEO AEGIC) Andrew Whitelaw (Thomas Elders Markets) David Porritt and Christine Mulhern (DAWE) and Brett Hosking (Chair, GrainGrowers). A consistent thread across the discussion was the importance of shared ambition, data and collaboration.
Facilitating a meeting using technology highlighted the inconsistencies of internet quality across the country, as serveral NPG members faced ongoing connection issues. GrainGrowers is developing a telecommunications policy position and worked through the range of issues people in rural and regional areas are facing. Options to best improve connectivity were considered. The opportunities missed for regional communities due to poor internet and mobile service and the effects this has on the economic and social aspects of rural living were also discussed.
Grains Sustainability Framework
GrainGrowers continues to progress the Grains Sustainability Framework. The NPG discussed the findings of the broad industry consultation which has helped establish priority goals, metrics, and targets for 2030. The discussion included how ambitious we should be as an industry and how we align with other broadacre commodities, especially important for those with mixed farming operations.
Representatives from the Australian Oilseeds Federation (AOF) and Sustainable Grains Australia (SGA) joined the meeting to discuss the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC). The NPG discussed and identified changes required to improve the process for growers. Further work is underway by GrainGrowers to ensure growers are considered in the process and audits.
The NPG discussed ways to improve the transparency and fairness of grains marketing, especially on the east coast. In addition, the recent response by the Australian Government to the ACCC Wheat Port Code review recommendations was flagged as an area that GrainGrowers will be working on in coming months.
Grains Research and Development
GrainGrowers is one of the GRDC’s Representative Organisation (RO), a role that has oversight of how GRDC focus the spending of levy funds on research projects. The NPG discussed GrainGrowers’ role as RO and how to best ensure levy payers are well represented.
The NPG will meet again in July 2021 at the GrainGrowers office (pending travel
restrictions). 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.