Home' National Farmers Federation : Annual Review 2008-2009 Contents 10 NATIONAL FARMERS' FEDERATION ANNUAL R EVIEW 2008-09
While highlighting the substantial contribution
modern agriculture makes -- economically,
environmentally and socially -- the NFF
delivered important gains across most of its
Economics & Trade
The NFF won a major reprieve for Australian
farmers by ensuring that the Federal
Government recognised that its Carbon
Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) is
inappropriate for the farm sector, and that it
must not be covered within the scheme.
In this regard, the NFF has changed the
Government's focus from 'how do we cover
agriculture within the CPRS' to 'what is an
appropriate policy mechanism to drive further
positive mitigation effort by Australian farmers'.
The NFF has also ensured that the problems
with the international carbon accounting rules
are high on the negotiating agenda for the
Government and the International Federation
of Agricultural Producers in the lead up to the
Council of Parties meeting in Copenhagen
at the end of 2009... particularly the need to
distinguish between the anthropogenic and
non-anthropogenic drivers of emissions.
The NFF has successfully engaged with the
newly formed Infrastructure Australia in its
formulation of a preliminary audit of the
nation's vital economic assets and compiled
the infrastructure proposals for prioritisation.
The Infrastructure Australia report provided
a list of the interim prioritised projects in key
areas including rail and road freight, regional
roads, ports, communications and energy.
Positive recommendations for NFF members
included work on the North-South Rail freight
corridor, the East-West Rail freight corridor, the
Newcastle-Dubbo Rail Freight link, expanding
Higher Mass Limits in central Queensland,
improving access for higher production
freight vehicles in SA, Peak Downs Highway
heavy vehicles route from Mackay to Bowen,
Tasmanian West Coast Freight Analysis, Bruce
Highway upgrade and NT roads development.
Regional water reform initiatives in NSW
were also recommended as were regional
NFF Achievements 2008-09
OVER the past year, the National Farmers' Federation (NFF) drove key initiatives
to ensure continued government and community support in underpinning the
productive base of Australian agriculture, with a view to expanding the sector's
major national economic, environmental and social contribution to the nation.
telecommunication developments in NT,
Victoria and South Australia.
The NFF has ensured that agriculture remains
high on the agenda of all Australian multilateral
and bilateral trade negotiations during a time
when governments are under pressure to carve
out trade concessions -- particularly in such a
sensitive area of international trade as agriculture.
The NFF remains highly effective in
coordinating agricultural industry feedback on
trade negotiations and is a valued partner to
Australia's negotiators. The NFF continues to
Chair the Cairns Group of Farm Leaders.
Natural Resource Management
In August 2008, the Federal Government
formally launched the NFF's Environmental
Stewardship initiative as a fully funded pilot
program, covering box gum grassy woodlands
in the Murrumbidgee and Lachlan catchments
of NSW and was, subsequently, extended to
the northern Basin.
The NFF is now pressing for the program to be
cast further afield to cover endangered species
and ecological communities listed under
the Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation Act 1999.
Water Act Amendments
The NFF worked with the Federal Government
to ensure that appropriate amendments to
the Water Act were passed through Federal
Parliament in December 2008.
NFF members also worked strategically with
their respective State Parliaments to ensure
that referral legislation was passed to allow the
passage of the federal Bill.
This concluded a significant work program for the
NFF in securing the closure of the risk assignment
gap. Originally, there was a six-month gap from
the end of the water sharing plans concluding
in 2014 until the end of 2014. The amendments
closed this gap providing a win for water
entitlement holders across Australia.
Water from 'Willing Sellers' Only
The NFF successfully ensured that any
acquisitions of water by the Federal Government
are from 'willing sellers' -- noting that in many
instances those sellers may be distressed.
The Federal Government continues to support
this approach publicly. The NFF continues
to work towards an holistic approach to the
Federal Government's investment through
the 'Water for the Future' package, with a
particular focus on ensuring that infrastructure
investment and, importantly, on-farm
investment, is accelerated.
With state governments failing to deliver
water reform projects, the NFF called on the
Federal Government to wrest control of the
agenda in the Murray-Darling Basin. Under the
2009 Federal Budget in May, the Government
responded by implementing a $300 million
on-farm water efficiency project.
This embraced the NFF's on-farm water-
saving infrastructure proposal in the southern
Basin, bypassing the states, in a victory for
commonsense. It will also invest in on-farm
projects in the northern Basin via previously
announced state priority projects.
This will see farmers partner with Government
to produce more food and fibre with less water
and, in doing so, return more water back to the
environment. In the process, those on-farm and
regional upgrades will create jobs in the bush and
build-in efficiency gains for future generations.
It's an investment that's good for production,
good for the environment, stimulates
employment and supports regional
communities. It also starts to correct the
imbalance the NFF highlighted in the
Government's previous primary focus being on
For the second year running, the NFF won two
Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA)
honours in 2008, under the ACT 'State Awards for
Excellence' and subsequent national 'Golden Target
Awards' -- professional peer recognition that the
NFF's strategic communications are on track.
At the State Awards in September 2008,
Drought Preparedness in a Changing
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