By WAFarmers President Tony York
Another year gone, and what a year it’s been for WAFarmers. We’ve had some significant change occur throughout the year in all aspects of the organisation.
March was a particularly busy month for us, with our fantastic Annual Conference followed immediately by a State Election. The election saw a change of government and a new Minister for Agriculture. A new government offers an opportunity to address a range of unattended and ongoing state issues and regulations. We look forward to continuing to work collaboratively with the State Government to ensure the WAFarmers perspective and those of our members are understood.
In terms of advocacy, the team has once again worked hard to achieve the best outcomes for our members. This year we’ve had numerous wins including:
- The disclosure of grain stocks data;
- Preventing the forced industry exit of some of the state’s dairy farmers;
- The ACCC’s decision not to declare mobile domestic roaming across Australia;
- Development of a new live export facility in Port Hedland;
- Introduction of a Certificate III in Beekeeping, to commence early next year;
- The prevention of the axing of one of the RAC Rescue Helicopters; and,
- The successful trial of the Harvest Mass Management Scheme, allowing farmers to travel off the RAV network under certain conditions during harvest.
There are still many ongoing issues that we’re involved in, including biosecurity issues, funding and management of government department services, the maintenance and funding for State Barrier Fence, towing of agricultural implements, first and last-mile road access, the establishment of a Rural Fire Service, the strengthening of agricultural Occupational Health and Safety, implementation of the LPA program, access to reliable telecommunications, development of the Animal Welfare Act, the establishment of the proposed Grains R&D Institute, and involvement in a number of standards, chemical and biosecurity reviews. We will continue to take a lead role on these issues and many others in 2018.
WAFarmersFirst Eggs joined our milk product in the retail market in March. It is proving to be well received and is making a positive contribution to our consumer profile and as another income source for WAFarmers. Both products were featured in the dessert course at Heart of WA in September, which experienced record attendance. It was a terrific opportunity to celebrate agriculture in WA and I would encourage as many members as possible to try and get to this event next year, which is scheduled for 1 September at Crown Perth.
Internally we’ve experienced some significant change. In addition to moving office from Guildford to Belmont and sharing our new space with Perth NRM, we welcomed new staff and said farewell to others, including CEO Stephen Brown. In October we welcomed Trent Kensett-Smith as our new CEO and I look forward to working alongside him and the rest of the WAFarmers team as we continue to work towards better outcomes for our members.
I would like to thank the WAFarmers staff, all of whom have worked tirelessly and willingly carried extra responsibilities during the year. Thank you also to our valued partners and sponsors, which are integral to the advocacy process. Finally, thank you to our members who have continued to show us great support throughout the year.
We look forward to seeing you at the WAFarmers Annual Conference: Vitality 2018 on 1-2 March at the Pan Pacific Perth. It promises to be a fantastic event that will recognise the industry’s ever-increasing strength, and celebrate the local farmers that foster life and create produce that keeps consumers from around the state, country and beyond fed and watered.
Thank you once again for your support. Wishing you and your families a very merry Christmas and a safe and happy new year!
The WAFarmers office will be closed from 12.00pm on Friday 22 December 2017, and will re-open on Tuesday 2 January 2018.