Cotton Matters - 24 October 2019

Wednesday, 23rd October 2019 // Cotton Matters // Comments (0)

Cotton Australia responds to release of MDBA report

Cotton Australia was one of several irrigator groups that condemned the timing of the release of a Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) monitoring report.

The report, released last week, documented the analysis of satellite imagery in the Namoi and Macquarie valleys during an embargoed ‘first flush’ event in March-April 2019.

The imagery identified a number of dams that had partially filled during the event, with some instances deemed by the MDBA to be in need of further investigation by the Natural Resources Access Regulator.

Cotton Australia condemned the timing of the report’s release and its content, stating that the information contained within the document implied wrongdoing without investigation and unduly identified properties, thereby affecting privacy.

Cotton Australia supports and encourages transparency on issues of compliance, but emphasises the need for all the facts to be assembled before allegations and implications are publicly raised.

Cotton Australia has written directly to the CEO and Board of the MDBA expressing our deep concern around the incident and requesting a full investigation.

The MDBA has apologised for the debacle, and the federal government has ordered an investigation.


Key discussions held at NFF Members Council meeting

Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay attended the National Farmers Federation’s (NFF) Members Council meeting in Canberra last week.

Cotton Australia is a member of the NFF.

The NFF AGM was held before the Members Council began, with Lisa Minogue from Barmedman elected to the NFF Board with Robyn Bryant from Mitchell in Queensland re-elected.

The meeting was a valuable opportunity to meet with other agricultural bodies and discuss issues of interest.

Key discussions focussed on:

  • The NFF’s “Telling our Story Strategy”, of which market research the NFF had commissioned on perceptions of agriculture and trust was discussed.
  • The ABC’s Director of News, Analysis and Investigations, Gaven Morris, addressed the meeting and fielded questions from NFF Members around the broadcaster’s coverage of agricultural issues.
  • Discussion with Mick Keelty (the Northern Basin Commissioner) around his role and current focus.
  • Presentation from John Harvey CEO of Agrifutures Australia (NFF is the Representative Organisation for Agrifutures).

The meeting also featured reports from the committees and taskforces of the NFF, including the acceptance of the detailed NFF Drought Policy, which was immediately presented to the federal government.

The NFF 40th Anniversary dinner was held on the Monday night


Cotton Australia congratulates ARLP graduates

Cotton Australia was pleased to attend the Australian Rural Leadership Program’s (ARLP) graduation ceremony for Course 25 in Canberra last week.

Our industry congratulates cotton's graduates Fleur Anderson and John Durham.

Cotton Australia co-sponsors the cotton industry’s participants, in conjunction with CRDC and Auscott Ltd.

Cotton Australia’s General Manager, Michael Murray, attended the graduation ceremony on behalf of our industry.

Read more about ARLP Course 25


Campaign promoting Australian agriculture launched

A national campaign to boost understanding and appreciation of Australian farmers has been launched.

The National Farmers Federation (NFF), of which Cotton Australia is a member, has released a short video showcasing modern Australian farming, with the aim of bridging the gap between farmers and the community.

The video is the first step in NFF’s broader agricultural awareness campaign, which Cotton Australia is contributing to.

Watch the video now


Apply now for Water Efficiency Program funding

The federal Department of Agriculture has announced funding for water-saving projects across the Murray–Darling Basin under the newly-relaunched Water Efficiency Program.

A total of $1.5 billion is available for farmers, businesses, local councils and infrastructure providers.

Projects must deliver benefits for farms and businesses, as well as our river systems. They must also have neutral or positive impacts on Basin communities.

Click here to learn more


Be informed: changes to quad bike safety standards

New safety standards for quad bikes have been announced.

The standards require all new quad bikes to display a warning label within 12 months alerting riders to the risk of roll over, and all new quad bikes must be fitted with an operator protection device at the point of sale within 24 months.  

The federal assistant treasurer, Michael Sukkar, announced the new mandatory safety standard for quad bikes in response to an ACCC quad bike safety investigation. 

This development has been applauded by the National Farmers Federation who has campaigned strongly for enhanced rider protections.

Read about the changes


Telstra 3G closure announced

Telstra has announced they will be switching off their 3G network in June 2024.

The company says the switch off will free up the spectrum for extra 5G bandwidth, as well as improve its current 4G offering.

Telstra said they intend to upgrade areas that currently have 3G-only coverage, to provide materially the same coverage with 4G.

Cotton Australia, along with many other agricultural groups, work with the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) to advocate for better telecommunications. ACCAN is currently liaising with Telstra to find out more about the upcoming 3G switch off and how this may affect regional, rural and remote consumers.

Read more about the switch off

RDCs investing in a digital future

Digital innovation could lift the gross value of production in Australian agriculture by $20.3 billion.

The rural research and development corporations (RDCs), led by CRDC, have invested in three national frameworks to help support Australian agriculture to digitally innovate:

  • an agricultural workforce digital capability framework,
  • agricultural data rules best management practice, and a
  • digital maturity index

This work follows the 2017 Precision to Decision project.

Click here for the reports, articles and tools you can apply to your business


Conduct a ‘health check’ on electricity tariffs

Growers are being encouraged to review their electricity tariffs.

Ergon Energy says customers should conduct a ‘health check’ on their tariffs annually.

In July 2019, a Queensland Competition Authority (QCA) determination provided new rates for standard tariffs, which included tariffs 20, 24, 44, 46 and 50.

The QCA stated that a typical small business customer on tariff 20 would receive a 5.8% reduction in their 2019/20 annual bill, while a typical large business customer on tariff 44 would receive a 7% reduction.

It’s important to note that the rates for customers on obsolete tariffs 20L, 21, 22L, 37, 47, 48, 62, 65 and 66 have not changed this financial year.

Customers can change tariffs by accessing the Energy Analysis portal on the Ergon Energy My Account page, or by phoning 1300 135 210.