Behind the scenes

The RGA Productivity and Industry Affairs Committee is anticipating that the NSW Department of Primary Industries | Agriculture will announce a Rice Vesting Review in mid-June. This review was scheduled to commence public consultation in January 2020. Over the next few months the RGA will be actively engaging with our members and broader community to ensure that the review outcome is beneficial for the entire rice industry. 

The RGA has been working closely with SunRice and the NSW Department of Primary Industries in relation to the detection of Fall Army worm (FAW) in Queensland earlier this year. We are closely monitoring the situation and providing up to date information to growers about potential management strategies if the pest is found in rice crops. At this stage this pest is not an imminent threat as there is uncertainty about the capacity of FAW to survive winters in the Riverina. 

Charleton Glenn, our Productivity and Industry Affairs Manager, has been in consultation with other members of NFF on issues of: National Biosecurity Plan, Community Trust in Rural Industries Project and review into Agvet Chemicals regulatory system which has now commenced.

2018-19 Report to levies stakeholders 
The Australian Federal Government, Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has released their 2018/19 Report to levies stakeholders. 
Levied industries across agriculture in 2018/19 contributed over $529 million towards R&D, marketing, biosecurity and residue testing activities, in conjunction with an additional $299 million in Commonwealth matching payments through R&D expenditure. 
CLICK HERE to read the latest information about your levied industries. 

Diary Update

Listed below  are some of the RGA's recent, significant engagements with Federal and State Ministers, Government Departments, Peak Bodies, and other major stakeholders
As well, the RGA are actively involved with the following organisations, meeting regularly and advocating on behalf of their members.

Murray Regional Strategy Group
Murray Region Regional Leadership forum hosted by Regional Development Australia
Murrumbidgee PHN, Empowering our Communities Steering Committee (EOC)
Murrumbidgee Water Sharing Plan Stakeholder Advisory Panel
NSW Murray Water Sharing Plan Stakeholder Advisory Panel
NFF Water Taskforce 
NSW Irrigator’s Council Strategic Food Security Response Taskforce – Chair Rachel Kelly


May, Rachel participated in a NSW Murray Water Sharing Briefing with the NSW Government officials.


May, the RGA staff participated in a workshop day hosted by NSWIC with the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) and later the Murray Darling Basin Authority. 


May, the RGA and SunRice representatives participated in a video conference with Her Excellency the Honourable Margaret Beazley AC QC, Governor of New South Wales to assist her excellency to become more informed on local water policy issues. 


May, Rob Massina and the RGA Staff participated in a teleconference with the Head of the Coronavirus Business Liaison Unit (CBLU) at Treasury to discuss how Covid-19 is impacting the Australian rice industry, and in particular the need for an urgent water allocation for rice production. 


April, QUT Natural Capital Meeting
Neil attended a Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Natural Capital Policy development meeting. This meeting discussed legal aspects of developing a Natural Capital Policy. Including creating a framework that encouraged participation rather than a tight framework that restricted uptake of a Natural Capital Policy.  

April,  AFI-NFF Biodiversity Certification trial Steering Committee meeting 
Neil attended this meeting with the Australian Farm Institute and National Farmers Federation, to discuss the agendas and the process of how Zoom could be used to deliver forums that were originally planned as public meetings prior to the current restrictions. This was Neil's first introduction to Zoom using breakout sessions.

April, Representatives from the RGA and SunRice participated in a rice industry briefing with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, facilitated by NFF.  This meeting gave the rice industry an opportunity to outline the reality about running out of Australian produced rice by the end of the year. Options for solutions have been presented and discussed in follow up meetings and are still being considered.

April, RGA staff and representatives participated in a teleconference workshop hosted by the MDBA to discuss trends in water use in Southern Basin.

April, Rachel attended a meeting with the MDBA and other key industry stakeholders regarding the mechanism for and modelling of sustainable diversion limit compliance and the industry’s key concern around underusage. 

April, RGA staff and representatives dialled into a meeting with Water Minister, the Department and the Interim Inspector General’s office to discuss the ‘Keelty Report’, which was being released the next day.  The RGA has already provided comments on the findings of the report.

RGA and SunRice representatives participated on a call with the Minister of Agriculture, the Hon David Littleproud to discuss industry related concerns and in particular the risk of Australia running out of domestically produced rice by the end of the year. Possible solutions where discussed and remain part of ongoing discussions with State and Federal Politicians and Government Departments.  Later on the same day, the same representatives participated in another teleconference facilitated by NFF with the Department of Agriculture relating to the same matter.

April, The RGA and SunRice representatives attended a teleconference with the Environment Minister, the Hon Sussan Ley MP, and the Agricultural Minister, the Hon Key Pitt MP, to discuss matters relating to water policy reform and the impacts on general security reliability and the risks of running out of domestically produced rice in Australia by the end of the year.

April, Rachel met with advisors from Federal Minister for Water, the Hon Keith Pitt MPs office, to discuss sources of water for a possible allocation of water for rice production. 


April, The RGA met with Senator Perin Davey to discuss key water policy concerns, including the need for an allocation of water for rice production. 

April, AFI-NFF Biodiversity Certification Trial Forum 
Neil and Erika attended this forum, which gave RGA members the opportunity to learn about Biodiversity Certification and then provide the opportunity to provide feedback to the Australian Farm Institute and National Farmers Federation regarding the project. All of the RGA Environmental Sustainability committee plus at least one other RGA member participated. 


March, Rachel Kelly and Graeme Kruger attended the NSWIC general meeting in Sydney where a number of areas relating to water policy were discussed with the NSW Department of Planning Industry and Environment.  In particular concerns about the process and engagement relating to Water Sharing Plans.  The NSW Water Minister Melinda Pavey participated in a Q&A session with members which provided a good opportunity for some frank discussion.  Ramzi Jabour 2ic to the Interim Inspector also gave an update to members.

March,  Graeme hosted a meeting in Leeton with officers from the USDA from the US Embassy in Canberra.  They were interested in gaining insights into the Australian Rice Industry.

March, Graeme attended a meeting of the Murray Regional Strategy Group where they engaged with the Federal Member for Farrer and Environment Minister the Hon Sussan Ley.  The minister was provided with a clear message about the concerns of the wider community in particular associated with water and the impacts of water reform.

March, The RGA Board and Central Executive meetings were held in Deniliquin.  One particular idea that came from this meeting was to embark on a social media campaign that has now been running for a month and is being reported on separately.  There were also break out meetings of the three Policy Committees on the day.  We welcomed Rachel Kelly back as RGA Water Policy Manager after 6 months of maternity leave and bid farewell to Claire Miller who was acting in the role during this period.

March, Rachel participated in both the Murrumbidgee and NSW Murray Water Sharing Plan Stakeholder Advisory Panel meeting. This was an opportunity for the stakeholder representatives to review the revisions to the Plan proposed by the Department Environment, Planning and Industry (Water ) following public consultation on the draft water sharing plans.

March, Representatives from the RGA and SunRice participated in a teleconference meeting with the MDBA to discuss the underuse of water based on the findings of the RMCG report commissioned by SunRice.  This has also led to a number of follow up technical meetings with MDBA modelling team and Policy staff.

Go to the RGA Website to learn more about your team