The Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) released its National Food Plan green paper for public consultation this past week, with written submissions due by 30 September 2012.
As part of the consultation process, DAFF will host a series of discussion seminars around Australia in all capital cities and a number of regional areas, between 30 July and 6 September 2012.
Feedback can also be provided via an online discussion forum, National Food Plan blog, and information on the consultation process will be available on the official National Food Plan Twitter account: @NatFoodPlan.
For more information on the National Food Plan green paper, please visit DAFF website by clicking here.
The Australian Manufacturing and Farming Program (AMFP) will be nationally launched on the lawns of Parliament House in Canberra on Thursday, 16 August.
The program is the idea of Senator John Madigan - the only blacksmith/boilermaker member of Federal Parliament - and is designed to close the ever widening gap between manufacturers and farmers and their elected representatives. Senator Nick Xenophon and The Hon Bob Katter have joined Senator Madigan as official program sponsors.
The program is designed for Members of Parliament and Senators to stay and work in farming operations and gain a proper understanding about what it takes to run a horticultural business in Australia.
Each industry that hosts a participating parliamentarian will determine the agenda and set the itinerary, ensuring the politician gets a real look at the industry, its successes and the problems it faces.
The AMFP needs the support of industries and farming groups, large or small, from around the country to host politicians and to be present at the launch in Canberra. AUSVEG encourages all vegetable and potato growers who can make the journey to attend the launch and be part of a program that can reconnect Parliament to Horticulture.
To download the official invitation to the national launch, please click here. For more information on the program, please visit the AMFP website by clicking here. If you'd like to register your interest to be part of the program please contact AUSVEG at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It has been another busy period for AUSVEG in the media, with representatives speaking to print, radio and television media outlets around the country this week on a range of important industry issues including biosecurity and the rise of imported vegetable products.
AUSVEG CEO, Mr Richard Mulcahy, told several media outlets that there is a serious risk of Zebra Chip disease being introduced into Australia if the Federal Government presses ahead with allowing New Zealand potatoes to be imported here for processing, as proposed in DAFF's recently released draft report. Mr Mulcahy questioned the science behind the import conditions proposed by DAFF and said that the livelihoods of Australian potato growers and their families will be jeopardised by the conditions, which are based on inadequate and outdated research. AUSVEG Public Affairs Manager, Mr William Churchill, also featured prominently in the media this week, including with Adelaide-based television networks, where he expressed the Australian potato industry's deep concern about DAFF's proposed import conditions.
AUSVEG also discussed the issue of rising processed vegetable imports. In a string of interviews, Mr Mulcahy said that the volume of processed vegetable imports in Australia has now reached "worrying heights" and that urgent measures need to be taken to reverse this alarming trend and ensure that Australian vegetable producers are able to remain viable and globally competitive.
Meanwhile, AUSVEG Senior Communications Officer, Miss Courtney Burger, discussed the results of new research released by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), which revealed that Australian households are wasting more than $1.1 billion worth of fruit and vegetables products every year. Miss Burger told the media that consumers should try to actively incorporate more vegetables into their diets, but also look at ways to reduce the amount of produce they throw out.
As part of its ongoing chemical reviews and counter-terrorism strategies, the Attorney General's Department (AGD) will soon be undertaking Chemical Security Risk Assessments on 28 agricultural/veterinary chemicals.
The Chemical Security Risk Assessments are designed to enhance security surrounding chemicals which may be used by terrorists or criminals as precursors for bombs, while still ensuring they remain accessible to legitimate users. The risk assessments identify areas of vulnerability (from import and production through to end users) which will enhance government and law enforcement abilities to pre-empt and prevent misuse.
The AGD would like to undertake site visits to vegetable and potato growers who use the chemicals (end users). A site visit involves AGD gaining an understanding of how the chemicals are used in respect of a typical end user, and discussing with growers the work that AGD is undertaking.
For a full list of the chemicals of security concern please click here. If you wish to be part of an AGD site visit, please contact AUSVEG on (03) 9822 0388 or email email@example.com.
Industry leaders, including representatives from AUSVEG, will participate in an industry forum this week to discuss new biosecurity legislation, following the release of the exposure drafts of the Biosecurity and Inspector General of Biosecurity Bills.
Jointly hosted by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and state and territory governments responsible for biosecurity, the forum will include presentations and discussions on the Regulation Impact Statement, as well as an overview of each of the Chapters in the Biosecurity and Inspector General of Biosecurity Bills and differences between the Quarantine Act 1908 and the new legislation.
Public forums in capital cities around Australia will also held from 30 July to 6 August, to ensure that stakeholders with an interest in Australia's biosecurity arrangements have an opportunity to have their say.
To access the key documents of the new legislation please click here. For more information on the forum and to register to attend, please click here.
A new milestone report has been finalised for the following project:
For vegetable levy paying growers, final reports will be available on the AUSVEG website (www.ausveg.com.au) in the coming weeks. For copies of milestone reports, levy payers can contact AUSVEG on (03) 9822 0388 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
29-31 July 2012
Mercure Ballarat Hotel,
3 August 2012
VGA Vic Annual Vegetable Growers Golf Day
Lang Lang Golf Club, South Gippsland Highway,
30 August - 11 September 2012
2012 Young Growers Study Tour
China and Vietnam
12 October 2012
VGA Vic Annual General Meeting
Crowne Plaza Hotel, Spencer Street,
17-19 October 2012
Eurofruit Congress Southern Hemisphere Conference,
NH Lord Charles Hotel,
Cape Town, South Africa
2-7 December 2012
Joint ASSSI and NZSSS Soil Science Conference,
"Soil Solutions for Diverse Landscapes"
Wrest Point Hotel Casino,