1. ABARE’S Regional Outlook Conferences

ABARES (the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences) conducts each year, a series of regional conferences. The venues vary from year-to-year and in addition to delivering topics of general interest (eg national and international issues, commodity outlooks, Australian farm performances, Australia’s economic outlook) they also tailor the program to local issues and industries. The locations are advised well ahead of time but the programs are advised closer to the events.

Unfortunately much of this year’s program has happened but Tassie growers might like to be aware that there’ll be a conference at Launceston on 28 September 2011, and for WA, perhaps a longer-shot in terms of relevance to local issues for the wine sector, is a conference in York on 31 August 2011.

Check out the program details at www.abares.gov.au/regional

2. Changes in NSW Public Sector

If you contact government departments in NSW, read on. Otherwise, skip to the next item.

With the announcement of the Ministry for the newly formed NSW Government, in April 2011, a number of structural changes to the NSW Public Sector were made. We are informed that there are now nine major clusters in the NSW bureaucracy – called Principal Departments. One of the new cluster groupings is the Department of Trade and Investment, Regional Infrastructure and Services (DTIRIS).

The areas included in this cluster are –

  • Agriculture Mineral and resources
  • Fisheries Energy
  • Forests Biofuels
  • Food security and agricultural sustainability Regional development
  • Biosecurity State development
  • Soil conservation services Small business
  • Crown lands management International markets and trade
  • Catchment management Investment attraction
  • Water management Tourism
  • Marine parks Major events
  • Rural affairs and rural service delivery Arts
  • Rural assistance Liquor, gaming and racing
  • Food regulation and safety

Apparently, key contacts for many of you will not change but to find out more go to http://www.trade.nsw.gov.au

3. Fees and charges are to be introduced in NSW for some certification and accreditation

While we at it, the old Department (Industry & Investment) has asked us to alert our NSW members that as of 1 July 2011, the Department will be introducing administrative fees for Interstate Certification Assurance (ICA), Certification Assurance (CA) and Source Property Accreditation (SPA) schemes. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

The Department advises that these fees are in line with those currently charged by other participating states and all existing fees remain unchanged.

The new schedule is as follows

  • Application Fee $253.00 (non-refundable)
  • Renewal Fee $110.00 (annual fee)
  • Area Freedom Certificates for Source Property Accreditation $32.50 per certificate

Contact information: Tel 02 6938 1976; Fax 02 6938 1809; www.trade.nsw.gov.au

4. AgStewardship chemical waste collection scheme

AgStewardship Australia Limited has an Industry Waste Reduction Scheme for collecting and recycling empty containers and the disposal of unwanted agvet chemicals.

The ACCC granted AgStewardship authorisation to impose a 4 cents per litre/kilogram levy on the supply of agvet chemicals to fund the Scheme. Acceptable containers was limited to rigid metal and plastic containers.

AgStewardship has an application with the ACCC to expand the scheme to include a new chemical container comprising a cardboard box and light density plastic bag developed by NuFarm.

The ACCC expects to release a decision on this application before the end of June 2011.

General inquiries: Infocentre 1300 302 502

5. South Australians asked how they want to provide feedback on the new Murray-Darling Basin Plan

The draft Murray Darling Basin Plan is due to be released in mid-2011 and the SA Minister for the River Murray, the Hon Paul Caica MP, wants to know how affected South Australian communities want to provide feedback in the 16-week period of community consultation that will follow its release. The sorts of questions they are asking is whether communities want to have their input through email, mail, small-group-meetings, shed meetings etc and if appropriate, where. Feedback is required by 24 June 2011.

There is apparently an on-line survey you can complete at www.waterforgood.sa.gov.au although at the time of writing this, we couldn’t find it. If you have trouble finding it yourself and you’ve got something to say, you have to get in touch with the Department’s Communication and Community Engagement Unit and a number you might try is 8463 6800.