Home' National Farmers Federation : Annual Review 2008-2009 Contents NATION AL FARMERS' FEDERATION ANNUAL R EVIEW 2008-09 13
teachers, students and parents can have
absolute confidence in the information,
materials and resources provided and/
or endorsed by the Foundation.
The Foundation is dedicated to raising
awareness of modern farming practices to
foster greater understanding and appreciation
of farming's relevance to the everyday
lives of Australians, and to encourage
more students to thoughtfully consider
agriculture and agricultural-related careers.
Trade Training Centres in Schools
The NFF won agriculture and horticulture
a key position within the new Trade
Training Centre in Schools Program,
following extensive lobbying during
the development of the policy and its
implementation by the Federal Government.
For the first time, farming is an eligible
apprenticeship under the program.
Additionally, criteria for the program
were changed to take into account
of the needs of regional Australia.
The program provides $2.5 billion over 10
years to enable all secondary schools to
apply for funding (of between $500,000
and $1.5 million) to establish Trade Training
Centres. The inclusion of farm training centres
means the farm sector is not disadvantaged,
compared to other sectors, in attracting
new entrants into the workforce.
Historic AIRC Victory
The NFF has won a major concession for
farmers in the Australian Industrial Relations
Commission, successfully retaining flexible
hours-of-work provisions that would
have been scrapped under the Federal
Government's Award modernisation reforms.
The result would have seen minimum
wage hikes of 10%, scaling all the way up
to a massive 100% for the dairy sector. The
NFF, with the assistance of the Australian
Farmers' Fighting Fund, engaged Senior
Counsel to ensure that farmers had the
best possible legal representation to
fight the Award changes head on.
As a result, the AIRC reversed its earlier
position and restated its acceptance of
the existing provision for hours-of-work.
Workforce from Abroad Employment Scheme
The NFF's groundbreaking policy of seeking
to employ seasonal workers from Pacific
island nations as one means of filling 22,000
entry-level vacancies on Australian farms got
the green light in August 2008, with workers
arriving in Australian in February 2009.
The NFF's policy push was premised on seminal
research justifying the needs of horticultural
producers on the ground, while sensitively
negotiating outstanding issues around
Australian unemployment levels. This was a
decisive element in the NFF's ultimate success.
In August 2008, the Australian Government
implemented a pilot scheme based on the
NFF's representation of industry needs and
policy imperatives, with research providing
pivotal in the NFF carrying the court of public
opinion to win over previous scepticism to
secure widespread support for the scheme.
In December 2008, NFF members
unanimously endorsed a new membership
and representational structure to
take farm representation into a new
era -- effective from 1 July 2009.
The changes allow for wider representation,
better engagement through the whole
agricultural supply chain and an even
stronger focus on evidence-based
research and policy development.
The review also enable agricultural entities,
including agribusiness, to be more involved
with NFF through an Associate Member
category, with this block of membership
allotted a 40% stake in voting rights.
Alongside these new arrangements, the NFF
has developed new sponsorship opportunities
so that corporate entities that supply, service
or buy from the farm sector can engage
with the new NFF, where appropriate.
The NFF secured a commitment from
the Federal Government protecting the
provision of Exceptional Circumstances (EC)
for Australian farmers, despite a radical draft
Productivity Commission recommendation
calling for its axing as of 2010.
Ongoing EC for those currently in drought
guaranteed, the NFF continued to assert
and champion its new approach to drought
policy based on better assisting farmers
to manage and prepare for droughts.
The NFF has been fundamentally involved
in the Federal Government's Drought
Review, with our support contingent on
delivering against key ingredients, including
a continuation of farm welfare support,
recognition that the EC Interest Rate Subsidy
could only be phased out as the drought ends
and only if an effective suite of replacement
programs can be delivered. These need to
be consistent with a commensurate level
of funding towards risk management tools,
sustainability and recovery from drought.
The NFF further supports individual
assessments that remove the need for lines on
a map, state and Commonwealth differences,
and which reflect the differing types of farm
business exposure to climate variability.
Primary Industries Education Foundation
The NFF is a founding member and driving
force behind the creation of the Primary
Industries Education Foundation -- a not-
for-profit company formed to provide
stimulating, factual and educationally-relevant
materials about modern agriculture for use in
Australia's primary and secondary schools.
Having brought together agricultural groups,
educators, peak bodies and the Federal
Government over 2006-09 to pioneer this
national resource to meet the educational
needs of schools, teachers and students that
transcend state-based curricula, in April 2009,
the NFF welcomed the Federal Government's
formal involvement as a member.
The Federal Government's active involvement
is an important partnership to ensure
NFF ACHIEVEMENTS 2008-09
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