Recent comments by: Pete Mailler
Agribuzz with David Leyonhjelm
It has been obvious for a long time that regional political stability will be dependent on Australia being perceived as a fully utilised, efficient and consistent agricultural supplier.
It is a relief that someone else has woken up to this also.
The question is, if ag is going to be so important as the global/regional food challenge bites, why does Govt and people like Leyonhjelm keep saying there is no justification to support agriculture?
If what we do is going to be increasingly important to national security it is a good investment if taxpayer dollars to support ag productivity.
Asia needs Australian agricultural products and there is great opportunity in that realisation. The problem is that Australia needs to realise that the best outcome is to encourage capital into Australian agriculture without selling the farm. Australia shouldn't have to sell the farm to realise the potential in the Asian market and anyone who suggests we should is shortsighted and has no vision for future generations of Australian agriculturists. I am neither xenophobic, uninformed nor uninternational, but I oppose Govt policies forcing foreign ownership of Australian ag assets.
Senator Colbeck is demonstrating the political ignorance that continues to erode Australian agricultural competitiveness. Australian producers have some of the highest regulatory impositions with the lowest levels of regulatory support. There is no reason why Australian products need to be subject to the same "added" costs for CoOL as imported products. It should be a cost applied to the imported product in the import supply chain. Just like cigarettes have warnings like "SMOKING KILLS" imported products should have "THIS PRODUCT NOT PRODUCED TO AUSTRALIAN STANDARDS". Which is true.
Small business is the engine room of the economy and in agriculture these are family farms. Over 90% of ag businesses are small/family operations.
Bigger companies do not produce more, in fact they often produce less gross product with a poorer environmental outcome.
Economies of scale work through lower overheads and ultimately survive on lower margins. This does not maximise production or even necessarily returns per unit input.
It is disgustingly short term thinking and simply politically convenient to ignore the importance of small business in agriculture and undermine them.
So how would all the free market advocates suggest we establish a fair trade agreement with China? I can guarantee that China will not undermine its ag sector, it knows how important it is going to be. China wants to buy our ag land, but try and buy a farm in China and see how far you get. China now owns ag land and exports product without a single transaction in Australia. They pay no tax and duck the R&D levies. Ordinary Australian farmers are now subsidising Chinese food production directly through our research, that they do not pay anything for. Sounds FAIR doesn't it.
Yes. Excellent! Our gross income is rising. It is a shame it is not rising faster than our costs. Even bigger shame is that our profitability is not improving and farm debt continues to rise.
There is a bright future for agriculture, but people like Mr Morris need to be honest, recognise the problems and set about implementing better ag and trade policies to achieve our potential rather than just trying to talk it up with this kind of meaningless reporting of misleading statistics.
It is gratifying that the Govt has recognisded that there is a problem. It is more frustrating though that their solution is of no benefit beyond drawing out the pain. It would be far more useful to actually be proactive about the one problem that is hurting the whole economy and compounding farming terms of trade woes. Debase the currency, print money and manage the Australian dollar down to a more manageable level for all exporters, and thereby reinvigorate mining, agriculture, tourism and all the small businesses that service them.
John, agriculture in this country has been shaped through public policy and we are compelled by government to increase production to offset narrowing trading margins. At the same time we are being forced to try and outproduce the delining terms of trade with one or two hands tied behind our back. You can't have it both ways taking the moral high ground thereby punishing good and honest farmers who are forced to farm this way by public policy. Either regulate our terms of trade to profit or deregulate our production environment. I would rather the latter.
GPA is funded by membership subscriptions from members who voluntarily choose to join GPA. There is no compulsory levy. Contrary to the article, growers can join GPA regardless of any other affiliations and NSWFA and WAFF members are also welcome. Supporting SFOs have gained a benefit for their members where we have waived the application fee associated with prcoessing their members' applications. I encourage all growers to read the GPA Proposal on the website, www.gpau.com.au, to get a clear understanding of GPA. GPA has been developed over many months with a wide consultation and has been endorsed now by producer representative bodies from Qld, WA, Vic and SA. GPA is now the legally recognised national peak body for Australian grain growers and we look forward to working with all representative groups for the benefit of all growers.
Lotus eating unions demand ever increasing regulated minimum wages without a care for productivity. Agriculture underpins rural and regional economies and is the true life blood of the bush. Simply big business revenues do not stay in the bush. Time for our federal politicians to grow up. Australian farmers are forced to pay first world cost structures and then receive third world prices for our product. Unsustainable for our farmers and ultimately for anyone who draws a living, directly or indirectly, from the sector, big or small.
GPA is about providing a functional representative structure that gives all growers an opportunity to influence the direction of the industry regardless of any other affiliations. NGA proposes that WAFF and NSWFA would hold the largest voting power because they merely come from the biggest grain producing states even though their membership base is only 15% to 20% of producers in those states and even less of the production. NGA excludes non SFO growers and bodies. GPA will be accountable to producers and will have to deliver real and measurable outcomes to ensure growers maintain their voluntary membership and thereby ensure voluntary membership subscriptions are adequate to fund the business. I have stated publicly that I will be standing down from GPA as soon as there are elected directors to take over the board. GPA is now looking for an interim board and needs three more grower nominated directors.
Ken, I am not a large grower. My wife and I struggle with high input prices and low market prices. We struggle to keep the mix of share-farming, leasing, contracting and our home farm profitable so we can raise and educate our kids. We need an effective advocate now more than ever, but we will never get one if we exclude the input of sections of the industry. Your concerns about being over-run by large operators in your influence is completely mirrored by large growers who feel their investment is directly threatened by the disproportionate influence small growers currently wield. The way you seek fairness in the industry is actually socialism. This ideology tends to stifle innovation and seriously discourage investment. It flies in the face of the entrepreneurial flare and pioneering spirit that built Australian agriculture and increasingly sees young producers like me want change in the way our industry is run. I am sure anyone you show GPA to would struggle to see the opportunity because YOU can't or won't consider the benefits of stability and real equity in representation. I am sure your father and grandfather would be proud.
Well said Chris and Belle. I couldn't agree more. The grass roots growers must be engaged regardless of their current affiliations and given an opportunity for open and thorough investigation of the options. As yet we have not seen a plan from NSWFA and WAFF that actually outlines any details of how their body will operate, how it will be funded or how it intends to engage with producers beyond their limited membership base. We cannot stand another single desk debate and beyond determining the next representative structure there are huge issues looming in biosecurity and research and development that could further splinter the industry and have massive flow on effects to producers. We need effective leadership that engages the industry on the basis of numbers of producers and the volume of production, with an understanding of the validity of both.