The name was passed unanimously and will come into effect upon the finalisation of a model for a new representative entity, as part of the Project Streamline and Strengthen (PSS). Members’ Council consists of representatives of all NFF members, including State Farming Organisations, Commodity Councils and Associate Members, and meets three times each year.
NFF President, Brent Finlay, said settlement upon the name was a significant milestone in the development of a unified organisation for the agricultural sector and laid further foundations for a more efficient and powerful lobbying force.
“Project Streamline and Strengthen has been a work in progress since the NFF embarked upon a journey to critically look at the characteristics of the world’s strongest and most successful representative bodies, through the independent Newgate Report, and to implement these within our own organisation to revitalise the way we do business,” Mr Finlay said.
“This was never going to be a simple or quick process given the complexities surrounding the integration of a number of organisations across jurisdictions and commodities.
“However, the unanimous decision to name the future entity ‘Australian Farmers’, and the commencement of work on a constitution for that organisation, shows the significant progress which has been made, particularly over the last 12 months, towards creating a formidable force in Australian advocacy and positioning agriculture as a national priority.
“The strength of this organisation will be further underpinned by the NFF’s online platform, the first of its kind in Australia and due for launch mid this year, which will provide a single source of valuable industry and weather information and food and agribusiness news as well as the ability for farmers’ voices to be magnified through online campaigns and polling.”
Mr Finlay said agreement on the ‘Australian Farmers’ name and discussion surrounding industry unification was only one element of a highly successful two days of talks in Canberra.
“Across the Members’ Council meeting key policy issues were robustly discussed and the agenda set for the upcoming Federal Election,” Mr Finlay said.
“The Member’s Council is a critical meeting to ensure the NFF’s advocacy efforts are clearly focused on the policies required for agriculture to meet its potential as our global market opportunities soar and to making sure Government recognises the value of the sector to the broader economy.
“Just this week the Australian Bureau of Statistics has reported the value of agricultural production in Australia was up some 5.4 per cent to $54 billion in 2014-15, despite tough seasonal conditions, and this is a clear reflection of the strength and importance of our industry.
“To match this growth and to ensure agriculture remains front of mind for our decision makers a strong and cohesive advocacy body is required.
‘Never before have we been so well positioned to represent Australian farmers and the agricultural supply chain with this strength only to grow as we head towards a new and dynamic organisation.”