Home' National Farmers Federation : Annual Review 2010-2011 Contents 18 NATIONAL FARMERS’ FEDERATION ANNUAL REVIEW 2010-11
The NFF secured a commitment from the
Federal Government to continue funding
the Environmental Stewardship Program in
the 2011-12 budget, $84.2 million over four
years will assist in meeting annual payments
to existing contracts (approximately half
of the total amount) as well as enabling
the Federal Government to enter into
new contracts with private land managers
across multiple ecological communities.
The announcement ensures an ongoing
commitment to existing and new contracts
that allows proper recognition of the
efforts of farmers undertaking conservation
activities to deliver environmental outcomes
on private land for endangered Ecological
Communities listed under the Federal
Environment Protection and Biodiversity
Conservation (EPBC) Act. The Environmental
Stewardship Program originally targeted
Box Gum Grassy Woodland in NSW and
southern Queensland and has now been
expanded to protect five endangered
ecological communities on 19,474 hectares of
privately managed land. NFF looks forward to
further expansion of the program over more
geographic regions over the next four years.
The NFF has continued to champion the
Environmental Stewardship Program and
push for a more extensive roll out of the
scheme. The Environmental Stewardship
program makes sound sense, underpinning
environmental and agricultural sustainability
on the farm. It also recognises the real
contribution that Australian farmers are
making at the ‘front line’ of environmental
management and biodiversity conservation.
National Farmers’ Federation
Murray Darling Basin
The key achievement in respect to the
Murray-Darling Basin Plan was undoubtedly
the intense scrutiny and ultimate
widespread rejection of the Guide to the
proposed Basin Plan. The implementation
of the Guide’s recommendations would
have resulted in widespread damage to
regional communities across the Basin
on the basis of incomplete and less than
comprehensive supporting information.
The NFF led the response to the Murray-
Darling Basin Authority’s Guide to the Basin
Plan, producing a substantive submission
which exposed the multiple flaws in the
Authority’s assumptions, methodologies and
draft proposals. The NFF’s response, which was
drafted in conjunction with NFF’s members
launched a new blueprint for salvaging the
reform agenda that maps out a sensible way
forward and delivers a balanced outcome –
one that ensures equal treatment of social,
economic and environment factors.
Significant work still surrounds the issue
of carbon tax. It is a key issue and NFF
is focused on ensuring that any policies
directed at reducing emissions offers
opportunity for the farm sector and
removes the threat of additional costs.
NFF has secured the exclusion of Australian
agriculture from the government’s proposed
carbon tax, and continues to work on
minimising the indirect costs that a carbon
tax may have on the competitiveness
of Australian agricultural industries.
In addition, NFF has worked with government
to ensure that voluntary market based
mechanisms - the carrot rather than
a stick approach (such as the Carbon
Farming Initiative) – are used to abate
agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.
NFF continues to ensure that government
recognises the positive role farmers play in
managing greenhouse gases, but also the
use of markets to ensure optimal outcomes
for greenhouse gas management.
NFF Agribusiness Monitor
NFF has developed the NFF Agribusiness
Monitor which will be published on the
NFF website and available to all Australian
farmers to compare and contrast the
agribusiness loan rates of the major
banks and non-bank institutions.
Access to affordable finance remains a
key challenge for agricultural industries
across Australia. NFF is confident that the
Agribusiness Monitor will shed new light on
bank rates and products for all farmers.
NFF wards off attack on Trusts
A recent High Court decision (the Bamford
Case) had considerable impacts for family trusts
in agricultural industries, with the potential
for farm entities operating within a trust
arrangement to be significantly disadvantaged.
NFF strongly advocated for a change to the
law and following NFF efforts, the government
announced new legislation to guarantee
that beneficiaries of trusts can continue
to use primary production averaging and
Farm Management Deposit provisions.
Research and Development
NFF successfully lifted the profile of research,
development and extension and highlighted
its importance in delivering productivity
growth for the sector, but also in dealing
with issues such as carbon and water.
Whilst the government continued its
commitment to the Rural Research and
Development Corporations in the 2011-
12 Budget in the wake of the Productivity
Commission inquiry, NFF will continue its work
to support and strengthen the Rural Research
and Development Corporation model.
The past 12 months have seen multiple
reports from government related to
research and development and discussion
on the direction and resourcing of this
work will continue over the coming year.
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