- Diversity in the workplace, and the broader agricultural sector, is vital for employees and employers, building a great reputation through to increased profitability and opportunities for workers. Read QFF’s Queensland Country Life column HERE.
- Making a cultural shift to focus on health and safety in your workplace needs to be addressed in your approach to harvest. Join QFF and Safe Ag Systems for a webinar on Wednesday, 23 September, which will provide you with the tools you need to identify your duties to your workers and reduce risks and hazards. Register HERE.
- QFF has supported the Local Government Association of Queensland’s Bush Councils Compact to bridge the divide between the city and the country by guaranteeing rural and remote communities a fairer go from the Queensland Government. Details HERE.
- While urban development activity is slowing, it’s likely to be short-lived and we need to deal with the underlying reasons that generate conflict between agricultural and urban uses that are proximate to each other. More from QFF partner Holding Redlich HERE.
- Outstanding contributors and innovators in agriculture were recognised at the recent AgFutures 2020 virtual forum. Darling Downs farmer and former QFF President Stuart Armitage won the Peter Kenny Medal and Jerome Leray, the founder of InFarm, received the Minister’s Emerging Leader Award. Congratulations! Details HERE and a full recording of the event will be available soon HERE.
- QFF industry member Growcom has announced a collaboration with internet sensation Nat’s What I Reckon, as a part of our national healthy eating campaign Eat Yourself to Health. Check out the campaign HERE.
- World Cotton Day is coming up on 7 October 2020 and to celebrate, QFF industry member Cotton Australia is holding a photo competition. Enter by capturing an image showcasing Australia’s cotton industry and the theme, Australian cotton: Paddock, People, Planet. Entries close 23 September, 2020. Details HERE.
- Following continued advocacy from the agriculture and resource sectors, the Queensland Government has released a guideline to help facilitate the transfer of infrastructure from petroleum activities like bores, access tracks, small dams, fences and sheds to landholders. More information HERE.
- A range of seasonal agriculture jobs are up for the picking across Queensland, with working-holiday makers and Queenslanders seeking employment encouraged to work and explore their way around the state. Now’s the time to pick Queensland. Get involved HERE.
- Natural resource management group Healthy Land and Water has asked the State Government to fund $154.6 million of infrastructure spending to deliver eight major projects across the state that would drive employment in regions hit hardest economically by COVID-19. Read more HERE.
Regional Digital TechHub announced
This week, Minister for Regional Communications Mark Coulton announced the NFF would be responsible for the role out of the Regional Digital TechHub, a new online resource dedicated to connecting rural Australia with information and relevant resources related to telecommunications.
Farmers make case to competition watchdog on supply chain bad behaviour
The NFF today provided its submission to the ACCC Agricultural Goods Inquiry outlining real life examples of the alarming conduct farmers are all too often subject to, at varying points along the food supply chain.
Action needed to solve agriculture's labour shortage
With peak harvest season just around the corner, time is ticking for action on Australia's farm sector’s labour shortage. At this time of year, there are usually about 144,000 backpackers in Australia, 30% of which take up roles in horticulture. Currently, there are a reported 70,000 with many more backpackers set to leave in the lead up to Christmas. The NFF and its members have presented to Government a 10 point plan to help solve ag's worker woes.
Industry welcomes investment into new energy
On Thursday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison unveiled new funding for renewable energy technologies, including $1.62 billion for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. The NFF said the package would support on foot initiatives such as the Bioenergy Roadmap and the development of new technologies to measure soil carbon. The NFF has a goal for 50% of Australia's farm energy sources to come form renewable sources by 2030.
Supply chain behaviour in question
Today, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) provided its submission to the ACCC Agricultural Goods Inquiry.
The submission outlines real life examples of the alarming conduct farmers are all too often subject to at varying points along the food supply chain.
From the poultry and horticulture industries, the submission outlines the behaviours farmers are confronted with on a regular basis, demonstrated by a number of case studies which were added anonymously so as to avoid any commercial retaliation (something that in itself demonstrates the fragile nature of Australia’s food supply chain system).
Some examples outline in the submission include:
Compelling farmers to invest millions in farm infrastructure on the promise of long-term contracts that never eventuate;
Vague quality and performance specifications that allows buyers to unilaterally change the price and quantity of agricultural products;
Using quality and performance specification to manipulate market prices;
Stockpiling semi-perishable products and strategically releasing product into market to depress farmgate prices; and
Short notice cancellations of consignments and then immediate reordering at lower prices.
The NFF is calling for significant reform of competition laws, including increasing the breadth and scope of unconscionable conduct provisions, a prescribed set of unfair practices, the broadening of codes of conduct to more agricultural products, and regular market monitoring of food supply chains to inform further regulatory interventions.
Because farmers are in the unique position of being small players who are reliant on monopolies and oligopolies for all their inputs and selling their goods into the market, they deserve regular regulatory oversight when it comes to competition.
While the three-month schedule for the inquiry has raised significant concerns amongst industry members around the breadth and depth of the ACCC investigation, industry remains optimistic about the potential findings.
Should the inquiry not find any evidence of misbehaviour, further questions will be raised over the time frame and full breadth of the ACCC investigation.
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