1. Figures impressive but work still needs to be done
The Hon. David Littleproud MP opened ABARES Outlook Conference in Canberra today.
National grains representative body, GrainGrowers, today stated that agriculture needed to continue to strive for growth in value and urged the Federal Government not to be complacent about the forward farm production estimates announced by Federal Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud, in opening the ABARES Outlook Conference in Canberra this morning.
Mr Littleproud said ABARES figures showed the gross value of farm production was forecast to increase by an average of around 1.2 per cent per year from 2018/19 to 2022/23, reaching nearly $63 billion in 2017/18 dollars, while the value of exports was forecast to increase by an average of 1.2 per cent per year, reaching nearly $50 billion by 2022-23. However, GrainGrowers supported the National Farmers' Federation in urging the government to continue to look for opportunities to build on this predicted success.
GPSA Chairman Wade Dabinett today called for a comprehensive review into SA’s GM-free status in the next 12 months.
This follows the release of a report finding that no premiums have been delivered to SA canola growers, and indeed the majority of South Australian farmers, as a result of the state’s status as free of genetically modified crops.
The report found that since 2012, non-GM canola at South Australian export ports has consistently traded between 2 per cent and 3 per cent below Geelong, Victoria and Kwinana, WA, ports respectively.
3. US Wheat Associates President urges work to lower world trade barriers
Chairman John Eastburn with US Wheat Associates President, Vince Peterson.
President of US Wheat Associates, Vince Peterson, met with GrainGrowers Chairman John Eastburn, CEO Dave McKeon and the policy team in Sydney as part of Mr Peterson’s tour of Australia. Mr Peterson was in Australia to address the GIWA Breakfast at the GRDC Research Update in Perth last week.
Mr Peterson spoke of the need to continue to lower global trade barriers, and the disappointment US wheat farmers felt at President Donald Trump’s decision to walk away from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP). However, he said that US Wheat Associates, like GrainGrowers, would continue to pursue a rigorous free trade agenda, one that addressed both tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade.
Mr Peterson’s visit to Australia was as a guest of GrainGrowers and AEGIC.
4. Communications Coalition presses Canberra for action
GrainGrowers is a member of the Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition (RRRCC) which converged on Canberra last week to deliver one simple message – 2018 must be a year of action on bush telecommunications.
The RRRCC met with MPs, the Department of Communications and the Arts and attending a forum focussed on regional mobile coverage convened by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The issues the RRRCC will be addressing in 2018 include:
The Telecommunications Reform Package should be passed by parliament as a priority.
Assurances that a new Universal Service Guarantee will deliver broadband, and voice services will not deteriorate under a new scheme.
A commitment to establish a regional telecommunications fund under a new Universal Service Guarantee.
Further rounds of the mobile blackspots program.
A bipartisan approach to regional, rural and remote telecommunications and connectivity.
CEO David McKeon said GrainGrowers looked forward to working with the Hon. Michael McCormack MP, who hails from the grain growing region of Riverina.
GrainGrowers welcomes new Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Nationals, Michael McCormack. CEO David McKeon said GrainGrowers looked forward to working with him. Mr McCormack also takes on the role of Minister for Infrastructure and Transport.
In other developments:
Deputy Nationals’ Leader Senator Bridget McKenzie continues as Minister for Regional Communications, Minister for Rural Health and Minister for Sport.
Senator Matthew Canavan is Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, and
David Littleproud continues in his role as Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources.
Keith Pitt is new Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister.
Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives Mark Coulton takes on the role of Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment.
This Thursday 8 March is International Women's Day 2018. GrainGrowers salutes our women in grains farming: "There is a bunch of women farmers out here [in the Mallee] doing amazing things," says Kaffeine, the artist painting the Rosebery Vic grain silos. Check out the amazing video about the ideas behind the artwork, which includes comments from grain farmer and GrainGrowers Board Member, Julia Hausler.