Cotton Australia’s General Meeting collects valuable grower feedback
Cotton Australia’s General Meeting was held in Sydney last week, bringing together CGA representatives and growers.
The meeting was a valuable opportunity for Cotton Australia to gather feedback on the industry’s issues and policies.
Topics on the agenda included industry initiatives, water policy, spray drift, cotton’s sustainability strategy and the protection of significant agricultural lands.
For more information, speak to your local CGA representative, or your Cotton Australia Regional Manager.
Cotton Australia updates federal politicians on strength of cotton industry
Cotton Australia’s Chairman Simon Corish, CEO Adam Kay, and General Manager Michael Murray met with key decision makers in Canberra recently to update them on the state of the cotton industry.
Meetings were held with Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud, Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, and Shadow Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon.
The meetings were positive opportunities for Cotton Australia to update the politicians on the industry’s position on important policy issues, seasonal outcomes, and our continuing work shaping a stronger, sustainable and responsible domestic cotton industry.
Kmart and Target learn more about Aussie cotton with farm and gin tour
Representatives from major retailers Kmart and Target toured southern NSW’s cotton industry recently on a two-day visit to see where the Australian cotton they use in their products originates.
The group of about 20 representatives visited Matt and Daisy Toscan’s property, ‘Rosewood’, at Coleambally to learn about sustainable farming practices and to see cotton being harvested.
‘Rosewood’ is a fully myBMP and BCI-certified farm, and Kmart and Target will only source from Australian farms with this accreditation beyond 2020.
The group also visited Southern Cotton at Whitton for insight into the ginning process. A film crew captured the two days and will be developing an educational video for Target and Kmart’s 40,000 staff.
The group learned about the industry’s growth in the Southern region, as well as the process for growing and picking high-quality cotton.
It’s hoped with the extra knowledge, the Australian cotton industry’s relationship with major brands and retailers will continue to flourish.
Queensland Agriculture minister tours Central Highlands cotton region
Queensland’s Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries, Mark Furner, received a first-hand look at the Central Highlands cotton industry recently.
Mr Furner visited the property of Cotton Australia’s Central Highlands Regional Manager, Renee Anderson, to watch the picking process and learn more about the industry.
Connections between indigenous youth and cotton industry growing
Ties between Cotton Australia and youth in indigenous communities continue to strengthen, thanks to a partnership with the Clontarf Foundation.
Last month, a group of indigenous boys from the Dalby Clontarf academy toured a local cotton farm and watched picking underway.
The students were curious about the picking process and asked picker operator Curtis Humphries questions about the ins and outs of the job.
In other Clontarf news, Cotton Australia staff last week visited the Clontarf Academy at Caringbah in Sydney, to learn more about its work and how Cotton Australia can continue to build connections between indigenous youth and the cotton industry.
How much would you buy a branch of cotton for?
Cotton Australia’s Facebook page went into overdrive last week when we shared a news story about branches of cotton being sold by Sydney florists at high prices.
The ABC reported some city florists were selling singles branches of cotton for $35, and bunches for as high as $50.
The post got many growers talking, drawing both incredulous and humorous reactions.
NSW growers urged to brush up on compliance knowledge
Growers in NSW can now access a series of resources reminding them of their compliance responsibilities.
The NSW Government established an independent authority, the Natural Resources Access Regulator, in 2017 to oversee reform in compliance.
The authority has a series of fact sheets on its website to remind growers of their regulatory requirements, and Cotton Australia encourages growers to read the documents to refresh their knowledge.
Further funding announced for bush blackspots
A fourth round of funding has been announced to address mobile blackspots in regional areas.
Regional Communications Minister, Bridget McKenzie, announced the $25m boost to the Mobile Blackspots Program this week.
Senator McKenzie said the government would invest in areas ‘overlooked by mobile network operators due to commercial reasons’.
The Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition has welcomed the announcement.
CRDC Grassroots Grants: funding grower ideas
The Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC) Grassroots Grants program is now entering its eighth year and continues to support Cotton Grower Associations (CGAs) to undertake capacity-building projects in their regions.
Up to $10,000 in funding is available from the CRDC for CGAs to help fund a project aimed at increasing the engagement of growers in the industry, solving specific regional issues and improving their skills, knowledge base and networks.
Applications for the 2018-19 round of Grassroots Grants opens on July 1, 2018 and close on November 30, 2018. Applications will be reviewed on a first-come first-served basis during this period, so CGAs are strongly encouraged to get their applications in when the program opens.
Changes to minimum wage coming into effect in July
Growers who employ staff under an award are urged to keep up to date with changes to the minimum wage.
From July 1, 2018, base rates of pay, award wages and the national minimum wage will increase by 3.5%.
The new national minimum wage will be $719.20 per week.
Growers are urged to keep up to date with the changes and learn what it will mean for them.
Fair Work Ombudsman launches fresh auditing campaign
A new campaign targeting workplace law compliance has been launched by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) in New South Wales’ North-West and New England regions.
The campaign will audit more than 200 businesses across a range of industries, including agriculture.
Growers are urged to ensure they are up-to-date with their obligations, are paying workers the correct wages and ensure their record keeping is accurate.
The FWO says any non-compliant businesses will be required to rectify any breaches and ensure they are compliant into the future.
Growers encouraged to prepare for Chain of Responsibility law changes
Amendments to Chain of Responsibility laws around heavy vehicle transport are coming into effect this year.
Growers are urged to familiarise themselves with the changes, to ensure Workplace Health and Safety requirements are maintained.
Under the Chain of Responsibility, growers can be held legally liable for breaches of the Heavy Vehicle National Law, even if they weren’t directly involved in an incident.
The amendments to the Chain of Responsibility laws will encourage all participants in the chain to reduce risks around transport tasks to ensure safety. The laws will also align existing laws more closely with WHS requirements.
Time running out to apply for 2019 Nuffield Scholarships
Are you a primary producer keen to lead your industry into the future?
Applications for the 2019 Nuffield Scholarships are now open, with the program aiming to develop current, emerging and future leaders in agriculture.
A $30,000 bursary is available for the recipient to study cutting-edge agriculture on a global scale.
Applications close June 15, 2018.