29 November 2022
Last week I attended the NFF Annual General Meeting and Members Council with our CEO, Hugh Christie. This forum provides an opportunity for all state farming groups, commodity bodies and the NFF to get together and develop strong, consistent positions to allow for the issues that matter to farmers to be strongly put forward on the national stage.
These discussions covered various issues, including climate change, competition policy, water, the ongoing pressure on sustainability frameworks and updates on projects the NFF delivers.
These projects included a presentation by two incredible young people who participated in the AgCareer Start program, which provides a gap year experience where people from non-agricultural backgrounds work on a farm for a year.
This opportunity has changed the career trajectory for both of them, and provides an example of a positive program to drive the attractiveness of a career in agriculture.
We will be active in raising the profile of this program in the coming years, as the project team not only looks for young people to participate but also farms willing to provide a placement for the year.
One of the other highlights was a presentation on the Regional Technology Hub, supported by the NFF. This program delivers nationwide support for people in rural and regional communities to address issues around connectivity to telecommunications services.
More information will be in Fast News next week (head to our website to subscribe if you don’t already receive this).
In terms of the impact of the TFGA on these discussions, the item that stands out for me is updates to the NFF energy policy and the impact of renewable energy developments. This updated policy now mentions the need for a consistent framework when engaging with landowners around transmission line developments on their property.
This change is critical with the move to dispersed renewable generation (such as wind farms), which require new or upgraded transmission lines to get the power to where it’s needed.
For the TFGA, the need for a consistent, respectful framework for how infrastructure projects interact with our members remains a high priority. This is broader than just reforms to compulsory acquisition legislation but also ensuring that farmers are engaged with and provides a level playing field for everyone.
More broadly, please don’t hesitate to let us know if any issues are front of mind, as we are always looking to help our members concentrate on farming whilst we keep the red tape at bay.