Dairy Levy Review
A review of the Dairy Australia levy is currently underway with the formation of a Levy Poll Advisory Committee (LPAC).
The levy is reviewed at least every five years with input from farmers and other industry stakeholders.
The LPAC manages the levy review process and it comprises of nine dairy farmers along with five representatives from industry bodies. Chaired by Ron Storey, the LPAC is expected to make a decision regarding the levy by June 2021. In the event a change to the levy is recommended and a levy poll is required, this process would extend into 2022.
Levy payers will be kept informed as the review progresses.
Chair - Ron Storey
Ron Storey is an experienced agribusiness executive and Non-Executive Director. He is Chairman of the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre and a former Chairman of Pulse Australia Limited. During his executive career Mr Storey was Head of NZX Agribusiness Australia, Managing Director of Australian Crop Forecasters and General Manager Marketing, AWB Ltd.
The following dairy farmer and industry body representatives have been appointed to the Levy Poll Advisory Committee:
Dairy farmer representatives on LPAC
Heath Cook, NSW
Katrina Gofton, Tasmania
Brendan Rae, South-West Victoria
Matthew Trace, Queensland
Andrew Aldridge, Tasmania
Karrinjeet Singh-Mahil, South-West Victoria
Andrew Cavill, South Australia
Daryl Hoey, Gippsland, Victoria
Peter Evans, Western Australia
Industry body representatives on LPAC
Tania Luckin, Dairy Australia Director and dairy farmer from South-West Victoria
Roseanne Healy, Dairy Australia Director
Rick Gladigau, Australian Dairy Farmers Director and dairy farmer from South Australia
Victoria Taylor, Australian Dairy Farmers Director
Peter Mulcahy, Australian Dairy Products Federation representative. KyValley Dairy Director and dairy farmer from Northern Victoria
LPAC Terms of Reference
The Levy Poll Advisory Committee’s Terms of Reference summarises the role of the committee and requirements of committee members.
Frequently asked questions
What is the Levy Poll Advisory Committee?
The Levy Poll Advisory Committee (LPAC) is convened to provide a recommendation on whether the levy should change and subsequently, whether a Levy Poll vote should occur.
Who is on the LPAC?
The LPAC comprises of a majority of levy payers who are reflective of levy payers nationally.
- An independent Chair
- Levy payers, based on direct nominations
- Representatives from industry organisations, as set out in legislation.
How is the LPAC appointed?
- An independent Chair is considered by a selection panel who recommends the appointment to the Chair of DA and President of ADF. The Chair must not be an employee, member, Board member or other body aligned to ADF, Australian Dairy Products Federation (ADPF) or DA. This Chair will be qualified with the right skills to lead the committee and the process.
- The Chair invites nominations for other representatives. All dairy levy payers are able to nominate for the committee and applications will be assessed by a selection panel who will ensure an appropriate representation of dairy levy payers as required by the legislation.
Do LPAC representatives receive remuneration?
LPAC representatives will be paid a sitting fee of $330/day for time spent on LPAC matters and any travel costs (fares, meals, accommodation) will be covered.
Why is a levy poll not mandatory?
In late 2015, all dairy levy payers were asked to vote in a poll based on the recommendations of the Dairy Levy Poll Process Review undertaken earlier that year. Levy payers supported the removal of the compulsory requirement for Dairy Australia to convene a levy poll at least every five years. Instead, a LPAC would be convened to determine if a change to the levy should be recommended.
The aim was to ensure that the costs associated with a levy poll are not incurred if there is no change to the poll. In early 2016, legislation passed the Federal Parliament to amend Section 9 of the Dairy Produce Act 1986 (the Act) and effect this change. The new legislation also provides an option for Group A members to petition for a change if they disagree with an LPAC recommendation not to conduct a levy poll.
What's the process in the lead up to a levy poll?
Once a levy poll is triggered the levy poll must be conducted with the following key considerations:
- Stakeholder consultation about the poll must be conducted with levy payers (the Consultation plan requires input from the Commonwealth Government and LPAC).
- Levy payers will be provided with a range of information to assist them make a decision on the poll (information pack).
An information pack including voting instructions and documentation around performance, and use of levy funds, is required to be sent to all levy payers at least five weeks prior to the poll and approved by the Minister.
How does levy poll voting work?
The levy poll must be designed to determine which levy option is preferred by eligible voters:
- Single option ballot: whether the single option is preferred over no change.
- Preferential ballot: if there are two or more levy options presented.
Electronic voting may occur if the LPAC is satisfied the requirements in the legislation are met.
What are voting entitlements based on?
- One vote for each whole dollar of dairy service levy (if any) that the entity paid to the Commonwealth before the cut-off day for the levy year. Provisions apply for trusts and deceased estates.
- Dairy Australia may invite levy payers to provide additional information to assist in determination of voting entitlements.
- Levy payers have an opportunity to have their voting entitlements reconsidered and if the levy payer remains dissatisfied, this can be escalated to an independent disputes panel (membership must exclude Dairy Australia employees, an eligible voter or their associate; or the returning officer).
What happens once a poll occurs?
- When the Returning Officer is satisfied the votes have been accurately counted and the preferred levy option is determined, the result must be declared as the levy option recommended to the Minister.
- After making this declaration, the Returning Officer must inform Dairy Australia.
Dairy Australia then has 14 business days after the declaration to:
- inform voters in writing a written summary of the levy poll results.
- notify the Minister.
Ballot papers must be kept for two years from the date of the levy poll in the event of an order lodged for a review of the results.
Please speak to a member of your regional team (Regional Development Program). Questions relating to the levy review process or nominating for the Levy Poll Advisory Committee should be sent to email@example.com.
Updated information will also be made available throughout the levy review process.