Joyce voices support for simplified dairy levy process
3 February 2016
Meeting with new Australian Dairy Farmers President, Simone Jolliffe in Canberra today, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, has reaffirmed his support for the dairy industry’s request for changes to simplify the dairy levy process.
Minister Joyce said the government was supportive of the dairy industry’s proposed reforms, and is proposing to introduce legislation to facilitate the changes in the Autumn 2016 parliamentary session.
“Australia’s dairy sector is an important and forward-looking industry, with good leadership and a strong vision for its future,” Minister Joyce said.
“Levy payers have demonstrated support for these changes, which will simplify and streamline the dairy levy process by removing the requirement for a dairy levy poll to be held every five years.
“Instead, every five years an industry advisory committee will consider the need for a levy poll, and there will also be a mechanism to allow levy payers to request a poll with the support of at least 15 per cent of levy votes.
“These changes are expected to generate savings of up to $1 million every five years—these are farmers’ levies which can be re-directed towards research and development activities, supporting industry innovation, productivity and profitability.
“Our dairy industry makes an important contribution to our economy and our way of life, generating exports worth almost $2.5 billion in 2014–15, and directly employing about 43,000 people across more than 6,000 farms. The Coalition Government is supportive of any changes that will help streamline and simplify industry arrangements, reduce red tape, and focus levy funds on growing an even more productive and profitable dairy industry.
“These changes will still ensure the dairy industry’s levy poll has a rigorous process where farmers themselves have their say on setting their levy.
“Australian Dairy Farmers, with support from Dairy Australia, undertook three months of consultation with dairy farmers, to ensure they had the opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed changes, ending with a whole-of-industry poll recording 89.95 per cent support for these reforms.
“I look forward to continuing to work with Australian Dairy Farmers to realise a bright and profitable future for this important industry.”