Your RGA team advocating for you - October

Growing Australian Agriculture to $100 Billion by 2030
The RGA Committees for Water, Environmental Sustainability and Productivity and Industry Affairs prepared a submission to the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources inquiry into growing Australian agriculture to $100 billion by 2030.  RGA identified the key areas where supportive policy will assist the Australian Rice Industry to contribute to this target.  DOWNLOAD THE SUBMISSION
(RGA is a National Farmers Federation Commodity group member).

National Drought Policy Submission
The RGA Committee for Productivity and Industry Affairs (PIA) were actively engaged in the National Drought Policy submission to government from the National Farmers Federation (NFF). It proposes a new approach to how our country prepares for, manages and recovers from adverse drought conditions.  READ THE SUBMISSION

Modernising Research and Development Corporations 
As part of the NFF Commodity CEO Innovation Coalition,  Graeme  Kruger and Charleton Glenn (representing the PIA Committee) have been participating in workshops and discussion relating to a submission from NFF about review into Modernising Research and Development Corporations. This review is to evaluate and understand current RDC framework and identify improvements for the future of commodities in agriculture. Given that the Rice Industry has a successful Extension program and is part of AgriFutures Australia (a multi-industry RDC), we have chosen to write a submission of our own with involvement from the RGA Board, PIA Committee and SunRice Grower Services. 

National Farmers Federation and Ag Week plus Australian Rural Leadership Foundation Graduation, Canberra.

Rob Massina and Graeme Attended a number of meetings and functions in Canberra, allowing them the opportunity to meet with and engage with officials and politicians attending these events.


  •  Monday 14th - Started off with Rob attending the National Farmers Federation (NFF) Leaders’ Summit, followed by the NFF’s 40th Anniversary Dinner hosted in Parliament House.
  •  Tuesday 15th - Rob and Graeme had meetings with NFF CEO and also met with The Water Minister and his Advisor to discuss RGA Policy Positions and to gain an understanding of the Ministers intent to review the Water Market as reported in the media.  A members communication in relation to this was sent out separately.
  • Wednesday 16th -  Rob and Graeme attended NFF Council meeting and AGM.  Of particular interest was a presentation by the recently appointed Inspector General of Murray Darling Basin Water Resources, Mick Keelty . The ABC’s Director News, Analysis and Investigations, Gaven Morris also presented at the meeting and provided an opportunity for members to raise concerns about programs such as 4 Corners and lack of balance and poor journalism.

  • Wednesday 16th and Thursday 17th – Graeme and Claire Miller attended National Irrigators Council meeting and AGM.  There were a number of presentations to Council, these being: The Minister Of Water, The Hon David Littleproud, Senior Executives, Panel Members and Staff from the following bodies: The MDBA, ACCC, Independent Panel: Assessment of Social and Economic Conditions of the Basin,  Bureau of Meteorology, Department of Environment and the Department of Agriculture.

  • Thursday 17th – Graeme attended the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation Graduation and Gala Dinner for Course 25 in support of Troy Mauger who graduated.  Congratulations Troy!

NSW / ACT Biosecurity Round Table Discussion, Sydney 

Charleton attended an update about Biosecurity in NSW / ACT which was facilitated by NSW DPI and LLS. The theme of the day was ‘Managing Biosecurity Emergencies in Partnership’, with the aim of providing clarity around current policies to identify gaps and partnerships for the future. 
All agricultural commodity industries in NSW were invited with the focus of the day being an overview on current pest and disease issues. 
Topics discussed were:
Stakeholder Engagement
Salmonella Enteritidis (Egg Industry) 
Citrus Canker (Citrus Industry) 
Yellow Crazy Ants (Social Licence Issue in NSW) 
Roles and responsibilities in a response environment
Mechanisms to improve emergency responses  

Farrer Food Fair
An initiative of the Hon Sussan Ley, federal member for Farrer, the Farrer Food Fair is a chance to show off what we do best in agriculture – food, wine or fibre. This event provides an opportunity for producers and industry representatives to offer a sample of their wares and to discuss all the issues affecting the farm sector with MPs, Senators and parliamentary staff from across the nation. READ MORE

National Irrigators Council (NIC) AGM, Canberra.

About 25 representatives of NIC member groups attended the AGM, including Graeme Kruger, Jeremy Morton and Claire Miller from RGA. Speakers included Minister for Water Resources, David Littleproud, who asserted the Basin Plan legislation requires ‘up to’ 450GL, so if only 100 GL, for example, was recovered by 2024, then that’s where it ends. It was a notable change in language, as the 450GL has been presented in the past as an absolute number, legally set in stone. He also believed the socioeconomic test meant little would be recovered on-farm. He called for support to pressure the States to deliver the 605GL in supply projects, as any shortfall would inevitably mean more buybacks. 

Rice Advisory Panel - Breeding Review Update, Yanco.

Graeme attended the Rice Breeding Review Update, as an observer on the AgriFutures Rice R&D Advisory Panel. The meeting was given a background to the reviews undertaken, followed by discussion and consideration of the recommendations in the reports. An action plan was determined.

Landcare NSW Awards Gala Dinner.

Attended by Neil Bull and Erika Heffer.  Erika was a recipient of the Champion Award in the Young Landcare Leadership category at the NSW Landcare Awards last week.
The Austcover Young Landcare Leadership Award acknowledges an individual who promotes excellence in Landcare through on-ground projects and encourages the wider community to engage and participate in managing the environment and natural resources in their local area. Erika said she was thrilled to receive the award and represent her region at the awards night. “My greatest passion as a Landcarer is to bring people together to deliver real outcomes for the groups they belong to and the local community,” Erika said.  READ THE FULL STORY

NSW Irrigators Council (NSWIC) teleconferences with member group executive officers. 

Attended by Claire Miller, the first teleconference discussed the 25 September NSW/Victorian announcement of independent panel members to investigate the modelling that underpins the higher environmental flow deliveries assumed in the Basin Plan. Some members were concerned the panel was set up to find ways to overcome constraints; others advised the panel was set up to force a reality check on further water recovery under the Basin Plan. 

In the second teleconference, member groups shared the main points raised in their submissions on the NSW Murray and Lower Darling and other valley Water Resource Plans, to inform the NSWIC submission. RGA’s key points were picked up in the NSWIC submission, including the potential co-option of Planned Environment Water to meet South Australia environmental flows targets under the Basin Plan. 

Murray Darling Association Conference, Toowoomba.
Graeme attended the 75 National Conference and AGM of the Murray Darling Association in Toowoomba.   The Theme of the conference was "Regeneration – For a healthy Basin". Of particular interest were the presentations by Philip Glyde from the MDBA on the implementation of the Basin Plan, John Madden from the Productivity Commission who gave an update on their report on the 5 year assessment of the Basin Plan, Agency updates from MDBA, Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder, Independent Panel for the assessment of social and economic conditions of the Basin and a panel discussion between State Basin Agencies responsible for the Water Sharing Plans.  A number of motions put up at the conference are aligned with some of the RGA’s own water policy positions.  Read more.  


Erika Heffer, Local Landcare Coordinator receiving the Austcover Young Landcare Leadership Award pictured with Neil Bull, RGA Environmental Projects Manager

AgriFutures Rice Panel Meeting, Yanco.

Graeme attended the AgriFutures Rice R&D Advisory Panel as an observer.

Australian Farm Institute RoundTable: “Valuing Australia’s Natural Capital” Canberra. 

Neil Bull, RGA Environment Manager attended the Australia Farm Institute RoundTable that featured presentations and discussions on “Valuing Australia’s Natural Capital.” The program covered three broad areas including; the history and future of ecosystem services, identifying the support needed to progress the implementation of ecosystem services and opportunities to build natural capital. The event concluded with a policy planning workshop to identify pathways forward to see Natural Capital valued and ecosystem services paid for.  READ MORE

NFF Commodity CEO Innovation Coalition Workshop 

Charleton attended a attend NFF lead workshop last week in Canberra on behalf of Graeme. The workshop was attended by Peak Industry body representatives from – NFF, GrainGrowers, Seafood Industry, Beef Cattle Council, Cattle Council, Wool Producers, Cotton Australia and Sugar Cane Association along with ACIL Allen Consults. The workshop provided opportunity for RGA to have input into NFF submission relating to the Modernisation of Research and Development Corporations. It was a constructive workshop with key messages being – Collaboration, Investment in RDCs, Value of Extension services and where the role of Advocacy should sit.  

NSW Landcare and Local Land Services Conference Broken Hill.

Attended by Neil Bull & Erika Heffer. The NSW Landcare and Local Land Services Conference is a biannual event charged with showcasing the best in partnership, Landcare and natural resource management.
The conference invites community, industry and government to come together to network and share their successes.

Thermal drone Ramsar monitoring trials in Barmah-Millewa wetlands.

The RGA are sharing their thermal imagery technology in the interest of improving our knowledge of the population and breeding success of Australasian Bitterns in the local Ramsar Wetlands. Neil Bull, RGA Environment Manager started the Australasian Bittern monitoring trial in October with Murray Local Land Services and Lachie Feeney from Australian UAV. We are trialling the use of a thermal imaging drone mounted camera in dense vegetation to try and identify the well camouflaged Bittern. This trial is part of Murray Local Land Service’s Ramsar project, funded from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.
30th October, Meeting of Local Agriculture and Wellness Support Providers.
Erika Heffer and Ainsley Massina attended an informal meeting hosted by the Drought Support Officer. The aim of the meeting was to ensure people are aware of who is working across the community towards similar and/or related outcomes to assist with better coordination of projects and initiatives in the future.

Go to the RGA Website to learn more about your team