Friday, February 14, 2014

Hunt Blog Newsletter 14 February 2014

Hunt Blog Newsletter

 14 February 2014

 Barnaby Joyce Goes into Bat for Rural Australia

But He Needs Your Support

New Federal Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has taken up the cudgels at first drop for Rural and Regional Australia announcing a score of initiatives to address some of the structural problems besetting our rural industries.

 First, on 4 November 2013, just six or seven weeks after the coalition came into government, Barnaby called upon the Federal Senate Rural and Regional and Transport References Committee to call an inquiry into the grass fed cattle levy structures and systems.

 On 12 December 2013 the Federal Senate answered Barnaby’s call and announced the terms of reference for an inquiry into the industry structures and systems covering the collection dispersal of marketing and R&D levies pertaining to the sale of grass fed cattle (the terms of reference for that grass fed cattle levy inquiry and details on how to lodge a submission to the inquiry can be found at

 On 29 November 2013 Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey succumbed to National Party and Barnaby Joyce pressure (with some able assistance from Liberal Sen Bill Heffernan) and rejected the US giant Archer Daniels Midland proposed takeover of GrainCorp in the national interest.

On 9 December 2013 Barnaby published the terms of reference for the Agricultural Competitive White Paper which will provide a much overdue examination of the measures needed to restore Australia’s rural industries to international competitiveness.

At the end of January 2014 following a tour of drought affected areas of Queensland and north-western New South Wales and meeting with some 400+ concerned farmers in his old home town of St George, Barnaby announced his determination to bring a drought relief and long-term development and reconstruction finance package to Federal Cabinet.

The Rural Debt Reconstruction Working Group who, with others, convened the 31 January 2014 Town Hall meeting in St George presented Barnaby with a Rural Reconstruction and Development Board proposal that has been enshrined into a Parliamentary Bill (The Reserve Bank Amendment (Australian Reconstruction and Development Board) Bill 2013) (the RRDB Bill), which was introduced into Federal Parliament by Independent Senator Nick Xenophon and Democratic Labour Senator John Madigan late last year.

The closing date for submissions about the proposed RRDB Bill was 10 February 2014. At last count 123 submissions, ranging from submissions by the Reserve Bank of Australia to Mum and Dad submissions had been received with respect to the RRDB Bill. These submissions can be viewed at 

The Need to Make a Noise

Barnaby Joyce has some runs on the board but a lot more needs to be done. Shortly after the coalition government came into power in September last year, Barnaby called on all those that supported his concern about foreign takeovers of prime Australian agricultural land and infrastructure to help him do something about it by making a lot of “noise.”

The “noise” from concerned grain growers and state and national farming organisations about the proposed foreign takeover of GrainCorp was loud and unified and Treasurer Joe Hockey heard the message and blocked the proposed grain Corp takeover by Archer Daniels Midland.

Rowell Walton and his merry men and women in the Rural Debt Roundtable Working Group have made a lot of “noise” about the debt crisis burden which is crippling rural Australia generally and the beef industry in particular. Indeed, there is an urgent need for long term patient development and reconstruction finance if Australia’s once proud rural export industries are to return to an internationally competitive position.

The Rural Reconstruction and Development Finance “noise” has thus far brought about $420 million Federal emergency rural debt refinance package, the introduction of the Rural Reconstruction and Development Board Bill into Federal Parliament and has inspired and given Barnaby Joyce a basis upon which to take the development finance and the drought relief proposals to Federal Cabinet.

Rowell Walton and his merry men and women didn’t sit back and leave it to Peak Councils to push their debt reconstruction barrow but they got in and led the way themselves. The National Farmers Federation (NFF ) have now jumped on the bandwagon and come out publicly in support the Rural Debt Roundtable Working Group push for Australian rural industries to have the same access to competitively priced long-term patient reconstruction and development finance that our overseas competitors enjoy.

The Grass Fed Cattle levy Senate Inquiry

All those that are concerned about the falling profitability and future sustainability of Australia’s beef cattle industry also need to make as much “noise” as possible to help Barnaby bring about the organisational structural changes needed to meet the collective needs of the beef cattle industry in the second decade of the 21st century.

The realities are that in the first instance Canberra will judge the degree of concern about the grass fed cattle levy structures and systems by the number and quality of submissions that the Senate Inquiry committee receives. So it is important that as many concerned grass fed cattle producers lodge a submission, either by themselves, or in groups, as possible.

To assist in this regard a group of Concerned Cattle Producers ( the CCP ) have got together to set up a non-partisan, non-aligned grass fed cattle levy Senate inquiry information website at to assist you to understand the issues raised by the terms of reference of the grass fed cattle levy Senate inquiry and to lodge a submission.

The CCP cattle levy Senate inquiry information website sets out the terms of reference of the Senate Inquiry together with background information about the history of the current grass fed cattle industry structures and systems and the reasons that many, including Barnaby Joyce, feel that the time has come for a review of those structures and systems to make sure that they are still the appropriate structures and systems needed to meet the collective needs of grass fed cattle producers.

The names and contact details of the CCP members who have committed their time and energy to ensure that their fellow grass fed cattle producers have an opportunity to express their views, opinions and concerns to this important Senate Committee Inquiry are set out on the homepage of .

The CCP cattle levy Senate inquiry information website also contains a pro forma electronic questionnaire submission (a copy of which is attached to this newsletter) that grass fed cattle levy payers can access to assist them in expressing their views to the grass fed cattle Senate committee inquiry.

The grass fed cattle industry needs your involvement and Barnaby Joyce needs your support and involvement if he is to bring about the changes needed to ensure that our great Australian cattle industry returns to profitability and once again enjoys the position in our rural industries and Australia’s economy that it held in previous decades and centuries.

If you are a grass fed cattle levy payer, please make the effort to visit the CCP information website at and lodge your own submission, or avail yourself of the opportunity to lodge the CCP pro forma electronic questionnaire submission, with

All submissions to the grass fed cattle levy Senate enquiry must be lodged by 1 March 2014.

If you have any queries you can contact any of the CCP members referred to on the homepage of the CCP website.

Further information about the history and performance of our current red meat industry structures and systems can be found at

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