The National Policy Group (NPG) has met face-to-face on 8 – 9 June 2022 after two long years of Zoom calls. The group met in Sydney and discussed the important issues facing the industry and the work GrainGrowers’ is undertaking to ensure the settings are right for growers.
Items on the agenda included how to improve carbon markets and sustainability certifications, issues around biotechnology, and an overview of the industry’s operating environment for 2022 including grain and input pricing and financial trends. The group also met with the GRDC to feed into their 2023-28 RD&E plan. It is critical growers’ views are included in the plan and GrainGrowers as a Representative Organisation (RO) to the GRDC will continue to advocate for this.
The NPG also visited the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC) for a tour of their Sydney facility, where they were provided an overview of the invaluable market outreach and market access research AEGIC performs with domestic and international stakeholders to ensure Australia’s safe and nutritious grains with the attributes that make them so sought after are front of mind for customers.
Watch the NPG Meeting update summary video here.
With a newly elected Government, the NPG discussed the commitments that the Australian Labor Party made during the campaign and GrainGrowers’ advocacy approach with a focus on farm inputs, trade and market access, grain freight and supply chains, workforce and carbon and climate. The NPG was particularly passionate about GrainGrowers continuing its trusted relationships with decision makers and department officials as well as other key parliamentarian including the many newly elected independents and Greens.
Carbon markets and sustainability policy
The NPG discussed how carbon credits could be generated and used for the benefit of grain farmers themselves. GrainGrowers will explore what options could be further developed to better manage the risks associated with carbon credits. Improvements to the ISCC and ensuring sustainability certification schemes are appropriate for Australian conditions were also discussed, along with scoping GrainGrowers’ new sustainability policy. The policy complements our existing Climate Change Policy and provides GrainGrowers with a strong platform to discuss grower needs with the new Government and industry.
GRDC Strategic Plan
The GRDC presented on the development of their new R, D&E Plan (2023-2028). The NPG discussed the need for broad grower engagement in the development of the new Plan, along with research priorities including the importance of technical support in accessing and maintaining international markets, responding to market volatility and the need to support the development of qualified and skilled researchers. GrainGrowers will continue to ensure grower views feed into this process as the plan is developed.
The NPG discussed the development of an updated biotechnology policy that reflects the opportunities that growers can derive including the opportunity to effectively manage environmental impacts and climate variability, including drought.
The operating environment and emerging issues
The NPG was joined by Rabobank, Thomas Elder Markets, and ABARES for an update on the current operating environment including interest rates, barley tariffs, workforce, input prices and biosecurity. The NPG worked through these issues along with what broad range of work that GrainGrowers has been doing on many issues including funding for biosecurity and regional infrastructure, stocks reporting and market transparency, fuel security, electric vehicles and long-term research priorities for the grains sector.
The NPG will continue to meet virtually over the coming months with the next face‑to-face meeting planned alongside GrainGrowers’ September AGM in Albury. GrainGrowers would like to thank the NPG for their contributions. For further information about any of the issues discussed or to provide feedback, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or (02) 9286 2000.
About the NPG
The NPG provides input into, reviews, and approves GrainGrowers’ policy positions that are developed on behalf of Australian grain farmers. NPG comprises of 15 elected grower representatives, five from the Western, Southern and Northern regions. The group meets throughout the year in person to review the important issues affecting growers. Further information is available at: https://www.graingrowers.com.au/policy/national-policy-group