Farm Guide VIC : 2008 - 2009
11 Victorian Farmers Federation It took over five years of lobbying the state government to action the rail-buy back as a least-cost means to ship grain. This, plus a commitment to invest $60 million to upgrade and facilitate rail shipping, was achieved. Chicken Meat Group Achievements The VFF Chicken Meat Group has an excellent record of negotiating grower contracts and fee increases for its members. The Group represented growers’ interests on the Victorian Governments review of the Code of Practice for Broiler Farms, through participation on the Stakeholder Reference Committee and Meetings with key Ministers. The review will be vital in determining the feasibility of broiler farm expansion and new farm developments. Provided growers with significant discounts on LPG gas through the Rural Industries Cooperative Ltd (RICL). Maintained vigilance to protect ongoing threats against the industry, particularly against imports of chicken meat. Horticulture Group Achievements Lobbied to achieve a mandatory code of conduct that provides clear and transparent terms between growers and traders. Lobbied Melbourne City Council and State Government to ensure that the showpiece of the $350 million per annum flower industry, the Melbourne International Garden Show, stayed at its present site, the Carlton Gardens and Exhibition Building. During 2007, the horticultural councils of the VFF voted to actively support the relocation of the Wholesale Fruit & Vegetable Market and National Flower Centre from the docks area of Footscray Road to Epping. The new flower centre resembles a huge conservatory and is the first full temperature-controlled, pollution-free market in Australia, designed to maintain cut flowers in optimum condition for sale throughout Australia and export. It is also close to road, rail and air transport. The weight of the VFF support ensured wholesalers preserved or received superior trading space to their former site. Worked with the Federal Department of Environment and Heritage to pre-empt legislation, aimed at ceasing use of Methyl Bromide, so growers could achieve a smooth and workable transition to alternate pesticides. Pig Group Achievements The VFF Pig Group provided a submission to the Inquiry conducted into the Country of Origin Labelling issue. Our position on this issue was clear: the Australian consumer has a right to be kept informed by Country of Origin Labelling on all packaged foods for sale in Australia. In conjunction with the DPI, the VFF Pig Group achieved improved conditions for traceability of pigs as they are transported nationwide. A movement-type document similar to Pigpass NVD is currently being developed. It is envisaged this will become a nationally-based mandatory document to accompany any movement of pigs. This will improve the traceability of stock and also ensure better management of disease, food safety and herd health. To ensure a rational approach to the development and implementation of the new Code of Conduct for the Welfare of Animals, and alleviate any resulting onerous provisions placed upon producers, it was imperative that the VFF work with the national body (APL), the Primary Industries Ministerial Council and the Victorian State Government on the issue. Egg Group Achievements The VFF Egg Group lobbied to ensure that changes to new regulations did not put farmers out of business and ensured food animal welfare for the birds. This is enshrined in legislation providing a measure of long-term viability until 2015 when it will become subject to review and undoubted influence from rabid quasi-animal protection groups again. A further initiative of the VFF Egg Group saw the introduction of the ‘Hen Care’ program, set up as an accreditation process to protect farmers from the onus of farm practices. It is through these endeavours of the VFF Egg Group, that the systems put in place over the past five years have seen the Victorian Industry operating at the world’s best practice. The VFF Egg Group initiated a trading page through the VFF web site to allow egg producers with surplus egg production to trade with those needing additional volume, thereby helping to smooth price fluctuations from distortions in supply and demand. As a means to offset the spiralling cost of feed, at the instigation of the VFF Egg Group, investigations into sourcing reliable supplies of sorghum have been initiated. Livestock Group Achievements Protection of Live Exports VFF Livestock has continued to place a high priority on keeping the Live Export trade open. This trade is annually worth approximately $1 billion and 10,000 jobs to the Australian economy. With funding from the Australian Farmers Fighting Fund, the VFF has continued to pursue legal action against animal rights extremists. The ports of Portland and Port Adelaide have remained open for live export providing a valuable market option to livestock producers. This market also provides benefits to producers not participating in it directly by adding competition to the existing markets. Heavy Sheep/Ram Sedation Heavy sheep sedation for shearing not mandatory. Saving of around 80c per sheep. NLIS Secured $20 million in Federal Government funding for NLIS. State Government to provide $1 million to assist with implementation of NLIS Sheep and goats. Tail tags no longer need be applied to cattle identified with an NLIS. The price of NLIS ear tags has also been reduced in Victoria to $1.65.
2009 - 2010