Cotton Matters - 3 October 2018

Tuesday, 2nd October 2018 // Cotton Matters, Featured // Comments (0)

Cotton Australia welcomes passing of Northern Basin Review through Parliament                                                                                                                 

Cotton Australia has congratulated the Australian Parliament on passing the Northern Basin Review Amendment and restoring bipartisan support for the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

The expiration of the parliamentary disallowance period last month means the Northern Basin Review amendments are now a permanent part of the Basin Plan.

This is good news for communities in the northern Murray-Darling Basin, with water recovery being reduced by 70 gigalitres, saving 180 jobs and improving environmental outcomes.

In addition, a range of other ‘toolkit measures’ to boost environmental outcomes have been funded and will now be implemented.

Read more

Aldi stocks Australian cotton towels

Retail giant Aldi Supermarkets last month stocked a range of Australian cotton towels that carried the Australian Cotton Mark and were made available in their stores nationwide.

Australian business Loftex manufactured the towels. Cotton Australia has developed a close relationship with Loftex, working with them to encourage retailers such as Aldi to stock Australian cotton towels.

“We’re hopeful that because the towels sold well, Aldi will commit to another program next year,” Cotton Australia’s Supply Chain Consultant, Brooke Summers said.

“It’s great to be working with an Australian manufacturer that’s committed to sourcing Australian cotton, as most of the manufacturers are based overseas.”

“Loftex has set up an Australian cotton display in their showroom to showcase our product to their customers, and we’re looking forward to future collaborations,” she said.

Read more about the Cotton to Market program


Cotton industry secures two Nuffield Scholarships

The Australian cotton industry is well represented in this year’s Nuffield Scholarship cohort.

Cotton Australia’s Central Highlands regional manager, Renee Anderson, and Queensland grower Tamara Uebergang were announced as scholarship recipients at a presentation last month.

Renee’s scholarship is jointly supported by Cotton Australia and CRDC, and her research will focus on highlighting better management practices that improve the social, environmental and economic sustainability of agriculture, and clearly communicate positive farming practices to consumers and drive broader community support for the industry.

Tamara, a grower from Miles in Queensland, will investigate alternative fuel sources and energy solutions for Australia’s agricultural sector.

Read more about the Nuffield Scholarships 


Cotton Australia’s Mary O’Brien awarded Unsung Hero gong

Cotton Australia’s Darling Downs regional manager, Mary O’Brien, has been recognised for her service to the cotton industry.

Last month, Mary was presented with the Unsung Hero award at the Darling Downs Cotton Grower of the Year Awards for her work on rural mental health.

Mary wrote an article earlier this year titled ‘Are You Bogged Mate?’ addressing the topic of depression and suicide among rural men, which was shared thousands of times and has led to the formation of a dedicated support service. In addition to this and her work with Cotton Australia, Mary runs her own agricultural consultancy business and advises on spray applications and spray drift.

Read more about Mary O’Brien’s mental health work


Grower Daniel Kahl presents Nuffield research

Cotton Australia has congratulated 2017 cotton industry Nuffield Scholar Daniel Kahl, from Merced Farming at Wee Waa, on the presentation of his research findings.

Daniel’s study focused on attracting, training and retaining the next generation of agriculture’s middle managers. His research was jointly funded by Cotton Australia and CRDC.

Daniel presented his research findings at the Nuffield Conference in Melbourne in September.

Read more about Daniel 


Reminder: calling growers to apply now for Cotton Gap

The Cotton Gap program is running again this season, and there some registered students still needing a placement on a cotton farm.

Interested growers are encouraged to contact Cotton Australia’s Bec Fing now

Read about Cotton Gap 

Register your interest 


Chain of Responsibility law changes: what you need to know

The Heavy Vehicle National Laws (HVNL) changed on October 1st, 2018, with alterations to Chain of Responsibility (CoR) requirements.

These changes impact everyone in the supply chain – drivers, employers, contractors, vehicle operators, loaders and unloaders of vehicles, and consignees.

National CoR legislation has been in place since 2005. Under the CoR, complying with transport laws is a shared responsibility, and the changes now mean all parties in the supply chain, including primary producers, must reduce safety risks related to transport tasks. Anybody, not just the driver, who has control over the transport task can be held responsible for breaches of road laws and may be legally liable.

Find out more in the myBMP HR & WHS module 


Travel diary exemption for primary producers to be extended

Farmers transporting produce in vehicles over 12 tonnes and within a 160km radius of their base will continue to be exempt from diarising requirements.

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) decision to extend the exemption comes into effect from October 4th.

The exemption only apples to primary produce transport.

The decision came after a review by the NHVR found there was no evidence linking the exemption to safety concerns in the three years since it was implemented.

Drivers who transport produce in ‘fatigue-related heavy vehicles’ are still required to keep a diary of their travels. Drivers of other fatigue-related heavy vehicles will still need to keep a diary when travelling more than 100km from their base.

Read more 


Time running out to have your say on mobile black spot funding

Growers are encouraged to have their say on where the next round of Federal mobile black spot funding is spent.

The Federal Government has committed $25 million towards improving connectivity in rural Australia in the fourth round of its Mobile Black Spot Program. The government is now calling on local and state governments to identify locations affected by mobile black spots, so they can be considered for funding. Members of the public are encouraged to make their coverage issues known to their local council and Federal representatives by 11th October, 2018.

Cotton Australia continues its work in the telecommunications space and thanks CGAs and growers who have already raised their mobile issues with us. We will be voicing your concerns in this Mobile Black Spot Program consultation process directly with relevant MPs, and with Telstra.

Read more about the Mobile Black Spot Program


Program launched to boost rates of women in agri-tech roles

A new program, supported by Cotton Australia, has been launched to attract more women into STEM and entrepreneurial roles in regional communities.

The Women in Agri-tech program involves female teachers working with researchers, professionals and entrepreneurs to develop their leadership skills in digital literacy, STEM and entrepreneurship in regional areas.

The teachers will develop engaging learning resources to inspire young female students and help them take up opportunities available to them.

Benefits to participants include:

  • Attendance at the inaugural Women in Agri-tech Symposium in Brisbane in February. All travel and accommodation costs will be covered.
  • $1500 to support the development of an agri-tech learning module.

Applications close 30th October 2018. 

Read more about the program


Drought low-interest loans doubled

The Federal Government has announced the doubling of low-interest loans for drought-affected farmers.

Up to $2 million in low-interest loans is now available for farmers in drought.

The Federal Agriculture Minister, David Littleproud, said the first five years of the loans will be interest-only.

Cotton Australia has compiled an overview of available drought assistance packages, which can be viewed here.

Read more about the low-interest drought loans


New app to help people in gas fields communities

The GasFields Commission has launched a new phone app to benefit people in areas impacted by gas extraction.

The app provides gas fields residents an estimate of compensation they could be entitled to, as well as a way to keep up to date with industry developments and find key contact information.

The app is not a legislative tool and does not give a legally binding result, however it aims to demystify the process of negotiating a compensation agreement.

Read more about the app


Land Access Ombudsman commences in Queensland

Queensland’s first Land Access Ombudsman has begun operation.

The Ombudsman is a new outlet for landholders and resource companies to resolve conflict around conduct and compensation agreements.

The Queensland Government said the Ombudsman will be a faster and free alternative to legal proceedings.

The Ombudsman’s objectives include:

  • providing a free alternative to legal action for landholders and resource companies who have a land access dispute
  • facilitating the resolution of referred disputes within its jurisdiction
  • giving advice to the parties and making non-binding recommendations on how a dispute could be resolved
  • referring potential breaches by companies to appropriate government departments for investigation
  • identifying and advising government on systemic land access issues
  • promoting public awareness of the Ombudsman’s functions.

Read more