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Words by Amelia Shaw - Policy Manager, Rural Affairs

2021 in review for GrainGrowers' National Policy Group

Despite not having the opportunity to meet face-to-face, the NPG has covered a wide range of topics and identified grower-focused solutions. The NPG was involved in the development of a Farm Management Deposits (FMD) policy position that helps foster resilience, the development of a Biosecurity policy position to advocate for better protections for Australian agriculture, as well as the Productivity Commission Right to Repair roundtable to represent the voice of growers that are impacted by rising equipment and repair costs.

The NPG also provided significant guidance in the development of GrainGrowers’ Carbon and Cropping report, an explanatory document that aims to provide answers to growers’ questions surrounding carbon farming. The NPG have actively voiced their concerns surrounding the current telecommunications and connectivity environment and have provided insight into the issues that rural communities and businesses are facing.

The NPG continued to guide GrainGrowers in its development of the industry's Grains Sustainability Framework (GSF), which is critical to articulating our sustainability credentials as we strive to meet evolving customer and consumer expectations. Furthermore, on the topic of trade, the NPG has been essential to GrainGrowers’ involvement in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) barley tariff dispute process and continues to provide input as the process evolves.

The next 12 months...

Moving into 2022, and with the easing of COVID restrictions, the NPG hopes to meet in-person (for many this will be their first time!). The Federal Election is expected in the first half of 2022, and the NPG will be driving GrainGrowers’ Election agenda for a sustainable and profitable industry through advocacy on the national topics of concern, such as the need for a more diverse Australian grain trade environment.

Biosecurity is expected to remain an important discussion topic and the NPG will continue to be involved. The workforce shortages that have occurred due to the closure of federal and state borders are expected to continue into early 2022, and the NPG will continue to act as GrainGrowers’ first point of contact in developing solutions.

The pledge by government at all levels for net-zero emissions targets means that GrainGrowers and our NPG will be performing significant work in the field of sustainability to drive the agenda for the benefit of the environment, while ensuring that grain growers are not negatively impacted by regulation and red tape.

Finally, the NPG will continue to provide insight into the daily experiences of growers in their regions when it comes to telecommunications, with the 2021 Federal review recommendations expected to be handed down.