Queensland Farmers Federation – Media Release

Reef Report Card confirms farmers progress & successes

 The seventh Great Barrier Reef Report Card was released today providing a snapshot of the long term collective efforts associated with implementing the Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan.

The standout modelled results include a reduction in average annual loads of dissolved inorganic nitrogen (DIN) by a further 5.5 to 25.5 per cent in the Burdekin, and 4.1 to 9.6 per cent in the Fitzroy.

Queensland farmers Federation (QFF) President Stuart Armitage said that the 2016 Report Card offered a constructive update on the progress of many aspects associated with improving the health of the Reef, even though agriculture was the only sector measured and factored in to the Report Card results.

Queensland farmers from various industries are engaged in programs that are implemented over a number of years. The Report Card is just one way of measuring their progress.

Not all the activities undertaken during the reporting period are included, so these results are considered a conservative estimate of the progress our sector has made.

The Report Card mentions results from the various industry Best Management Practice (BMP) programs. Industry BMP programs are making significant progress towards changing practices to protect the Reef with farmers contributing $1.55 for every $1 invested by government.

In sugarcane alone we have seen a 60 per cent plus increase on the number of farms achieving Smartcane BMP accreditation since the 2015 Report Card.

Over 62 per cent of banana farmland across north Queensland is now BMP accredited, and many more growers are currently working towards this goal.

Graziers in the Reef catchments are also embracing the BMP process with 1,722 properties covering nearly 10 million hectares undertaking assessments on their practices as they work towards BMP accreditation, Mr Armitage said.

Agriculture is essential to regional Queensland sustaining over 40,000 jobs and contributing more than $5 billion of economic value at the farm gate alone (Reef catchment area total).

QFF continues to take a lead role facilitating the Reef Alliance partnership. The Alliance consists of the agriculture sector, Natural Resource Management (NRM) groups and WWF and shares a common goal of securing the future of the Reef. read more

ACCC announces enquiry into Insurance for Residential building, contents and strata insurance.

Issues paper for northern Australia insurance inquiry

24 October 2017

The ACCC has today released an issues paper for its inquiry into the supply of residential building, contents, and strata insurance in northern Australia. The Australian Government directed the ACCC to undertake a wide-ranging inquiry due to concerns about affordability and availability of insurance in the region.

The ACCC will be hosting a series of public forums so consumers can share their concerns directly with the ACCC. The forums will be held in November and December this year in Townsville, Cairns, Darwin, Alice Springs, Karratha, Broome, Rockhampton, and Mackay.

These forums will allow us to hear directly from people in northern Australia about their experiences of the insurance market, ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

The ACCC is investigating why insurance premiums have increased substantially in northern Australia over the past few years. Our Inquiry aims to identify the barriers that prevent consumers from accessing affordable, appropriate, and comprehensive insurance.

As a formal inquiry, we will use our compulsory information gathering powers to access information directly from insurers. This is something other inquiries have not been able to do. We are also seeking consumer and industry input on price, policy coverage, and any barriers to consumers getting a better deal, Ms Rickard said.

The ACCC is seeking feedback from interested stakeholders on a range of issues, including:

  • Insurance pricing, the key cost components of insurance, and insurer profitability
  • The competitiveness of markets for insurance in northern Australia
  • How consumers interact with insurance markets including any barriers to consumers making well informed choices
  • Other regulatory issues relevant to the insurance industry
  • The role that mitigation can play in improving affordability.

There is a short version of the issues paper covering the content most relevant to consumers. Consumers can respond to the short version online. The full issues paper, short version, and information about the public forums is available at: Northern Australia insurance inquiry.

Submissions are due on 21 December 2017 and can be emailed to insurance@accc.gov.au (link sends e-mail).

Background

The ACCC must submit reports to the Treasurer by 30 November 2018 and 30 November 2019. The inquiry is to be completed and a final report submitted to the Treasurer by 30 November 2020. read more

Queensland Farmer’s Federation – Media Release – Reducing energy use, bills and increasing on-farm efficiency.

Queensland Farmer’s Federation –  Reducing Energy Use

Reducing energy use, bills and increasing on-farm efficiency

Queensland farmers are seeing their on-farm electricity use and energy bills reduced as a result of the Queensland Government funded Queensland Farmers Federation (QFF) and Ergon Energy, Energy Savers Program.

Over 60% of the 130 farms participating in the QFF Energy Savers program have or plan to implement part of the $3 million of annual energy cost savings identified in the energy efficiency audits across different industries. This includes 50 farms implementing energy efficiency projects and another 32 that are planning to in the near future.

QFF President Stuart Armitage said that despite the evident structural challenges with energy affordability in Queensland, farmers are not waiting around on the promise of eventual price relief.

“Farmers are implementing projects to improve and upgrade irrigation, refrigeration, lighting and installing solar photovoltaic (PV) systems,” said Mr. Armitage.

“The biggest uptake has been by irrigators improving pumping systems. Crop requirements, climatic conditions, water licencing and irrigation channel conditions mean they don’t have the luxury of deciding when they pump water.

A recent survey of program participants found that over 90% of respondents felt that Energy Savers has raised awareness of on-farm energy management.

Most encouraging too has been feedback from energy efficiency suppliers that farmers are approaching them for improvements based of the case studies and information provided through the program.

The Energy Savers program has developed and published 45 case studies, including 5 videos covering a range of agricultural industries throughout Queensland all available on the Energy Savers website. These case studies and information have been presented at 50 events throughout the state’s agricultural regions.

“QFF continues to work with Ergon and the State Government to assist farmers move ahead with projects identified in the audits by providing advice and information to reduce barriers, such as understanding the technologies and accessing financing options,”  said Mr. Armitage. read more

Kalamia Members Notice – Water Sampling

Water Sampling Information – Nitrogen Impact

At our recent AGM an issue was raised by a grower in relation to outcome of RP20 Nitrogen Trials and in particular the positive around improved environmental footprint. Grower enquired as to avenues available to undertake surface water sampling in the Delta to determine individual farm nitrogen impact and to what extent. For any growers interested I have had discussions with BBIFMAC who have provided the following guidelines/procedures.

Sample collection: Growers can either take a grab sample of runoff at the end of the row once the water comes through or BBIFMAC sells KP samplers which if set up correctly automatically start taking a sample when the water first comes through and stops when the water stops. This is a more accurate way of taking samples as the amount of nutrient can vary throughout the runoff period however the KP samplers sell for $550. Farmacist and BPS have purchased several KP samplers from BBIFMAC and use them throughout the Burdekin. The KP samplers do need to be set up correctly and maintained properly and BBIFMAC suggests a trained person deploy them each time.

Sample storage: samples are best placed into an appropriate sample bottle (1L from lab supplier), making sure that the bottle is triple rinsed before used, and that gloves are used so that there is no contamination of the bottle neck or lid (the bare skin of fingers/hands can contain quite high levels of Nitrates which will contaminate the sample!). There should be no air gap in the bottle after being filled with the sample and it needs to be refrigerated or frozen immediately after collection (very important!). Samples sitting in the sun or in a hot vehicle will degrade very rapidly.

Sample analysis: samples can be sent off to a laboratory for analysis however this is costly (up to $150 depending on the analysis required plus freight), especially as they need to be transported cold! If just testing for    Nitrogen/Nitrate BBIFMAC can analyse the samples for $30/sample and can provide the appropriate collection bottles. Phosphorus and pesticides will need to be sent away to a lab. BBIFMAC can do this but it    will cost upwards of $150 per sample. read more

SRA8 – Smut Update

 SRA8 – Smut Update – Rob Milla

Hi All,

I am writing to inform you of an update to the Sugarcane Smut situation in the Burdekin region, with specific reference to SRA8.  BPS staff detected elevated levels of smut in SRA8 at BPS approved seed cane plots in Mid August 2017 – since then, SRA pathology staff have inspected these sites and provided feedback. It should be noted that SRA8 has a smut rating of Intermediate-Susceptible, so seeing the expression of smut in this variety when conditions are favourable for smut is not unexpected.  Up until August 2017, very little smut had been observed in SRA8.

The Regional Variety Committee (RVC) met on Tuesday 29th August to decide on how best to manage SRA8 with the presence of smut. Rob Magarey (SRA Pathologist) was also present, along with other senior SRA staff.  Management of SRA8 was discussed at two levels – commercially planted blocks, and BPS approved seed cane plots.

Commercially planted Cane

 Advice from SRA pathology staff, and supported by all members of the RVC was that growers who have planted SRA8 have no need to plough out any cane.  The relatively small areas that have been planted, even if they  were showing levels of smut consistent with an Intermediate-Susceptible variety, would not significantly increase pressure on the district as a whole.  If growers have concerns or questions regarding SRA8 that they have planted commercially, please contact BPS staff for assistance.  In terms of yield loss, it is difficult to quantify the extent as we have only observed SRA8 up to 2nd ratoon, however it is unlikely there would be significant yield losses in plant and early ratoon crops.

BPS Approved Seed Cane Plots

 Varying levels of smut were found in SRA8 in BPS approved seed plots across the district.  Given that smut is a wind borne fungal spore, it is not possible to protect the plots from this method of transmission, even though all other precautions to minimise risk of smut infection such as hot water treatment, clean down of equipment and planting with Sinker have been taken.  Advice from pathology was that once smut infestation exceeds 1% on approved seed cane plots, then the levels of smut become unacceptable, particularly given the Burdekin situation where we have a number of major varieties (particularly Q183 and Q208) in the intermediate range for smut susceptibility.   A decision was made by the RVC to plough out first ratoon cane in distribution plots where the threshold of 1% of plants infected with smut has been determined.  There are two distribution plots where very low levels of smut were detected in SRA8, and these will be monitored over the next few weeks and will not be ploughed out unless they exceed the threshold. read more

BDCG Bargaining Authority, Arbitration and CSA’s.

BDCG Bargaining Authority, Arbitration and CSAs.

 Members are advised BDCG solicitors will be provided with a copy of growers BDCG Bargaining Authority Forms this afternoon. The procedural processes of the arbitration are about to commence but it will be some weeks until hearings occur.

 From this point forward, information regarding the arbitration and negotiation with Wilmar can only be provided to those growers who have submitted signed Bargaining Authorities

 A reminder to all who have signed these Authorities – if you change your position and subsequently sign Wilmar CSA and Forward Pricing Agreements, you must advise us immediately and withdraw the Bargaining Authority.

MEMBER NOTICE – BDCG Bargaining Authority Form Information

at least some of their future crops now and the only pathway available for them is with Wilmar.

KCGO determined some time ago to respect those members and their decisions and to continue to support any levy paying member with our full range of services.

If you not already done so, we would be pleased if you could return the BDCG Bargaining Authority Form by close of business tomorrow, Friday 30^th September.

(Please Print, sign and return to the KCGO office by Friday, 30th September).
Thank you.

David Rutledge (Executive Manager / Company Secretary)

___________________________________________________________________

APPOINTMENT OF BARGAINING REPRESENTATIVE

BURDEKIN DISTRICT CANE GROWERS LIMITED
AND
KALAMIA CANE GROWERS ORGANISATION LIMITED

Grower details:

Trading name: _____________________________________

ABN: _____________________________________

Farm number/s: _____________________________________

Appointment of Bargaining Representative:

Pursuant to section 33(3) of the Sugar Industry Act 1999 (as amended) Burdekin District Cane Growers Limited (ACN 168 732 269) and KALAMIA CANE GROWERS ORGANISATION LIMITED (ACN 092 708 337) are appointed as the bargaining representative for the Grower (named above).

Date of Commencement of Appointment: Immediately for the 2017 season onwards

Grower/s signature: _____________________________________

Dated: _____________________________________

** Persons signing on behalf of the Grower warrant to Burdekin District Cane Growers Ltd and Kalamia Cane Growers Organisation Limited that they have the authority to act on behalf of the Grower.

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