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Dairy Levy Review


Levy Poll Advisory Committee logo

Dairy Australia invests the service levy to provide services to benefit dairy farmers and protect their right to farm: research and innovation, supporting farm business management, responding to events such as drought or COVID-19, developing tools to adapt to the environment and address climate, supporting on-farm employment needs, marketing of dairy products and commitment to sustainability, policy research, industry insights, and delivering international market programs.

Find out more about Dairy Poll 2022

Visit the Dairy Poll to stay regularly informed on the levy poll options, initiatives for each levy poll option, and Dairy Australia’s investment areas.

How is the Dairy Service Levy allocated to services?

Approximately $55-60M is invested each year to deliver these services, which includes 50% from levy funds, 35% Government and 14% external contributions/grants, other 1%.

To maintain the services below, the industry has had to regularly dip into levy reserves, which are declining. Given current and predicted future levels of milk production, the Levy Poll Advisory Committee (LPAC) has considered the viability of this strategy if this level of innovation and services is to be maintained over the next five years.

Dairy Australia priorities

On-farm examples of industry services

Approx $

1. More resilient farm businesses

Increase farmer skills in business planning, risk management and finances – i.e. Our Farm Our Plan, DairyBase.

$7-8m (13%)

2. Attract and develop great people for dairy

Support farm businesses to attract, develop and retain good people – i.e. ESKI, People in Dairy website, DairyLearn, Dairy Passport

$6-7m (11%)

3. Strong community support for dairy

Promote dairy to consumers and the broader community – i.e. Dairy Matters campaign, schools program, health and nutrition policy support, sustainability.

$8-9m (14%)

4. Thrive in a changing environment

Provide resources to help manage climate and environmental challenges on-farm – i.e. Smarter Irrigation for Profit, C4 Milk, DairyHigh2.

$4-5m (7%)

5. Success in domestic and overseas markets

Build relationships and promote Australian dairy in overseas markets – i.e trade programs, Situation and Outlook.

$7-8m (12%)

6. Technology and data-enabled dairy farms

Research in genetics of pasture and cattle – i.e. DairyBio, DataGene, Dairy Feedbase, Forage Value Index

$18-19m (31%)

7. Innovative and responsive organisation

Driving an innovative organisation with talented people, focused on delivery value for farmers.

$7-8m (12%)

Total

$57-62m

*The above $ allocation is broadly representative of the 2020-21 year and includes delivery of services in the regions via the Regional Development Programs Murray Dairy, GippsDairy, WestVic Dairy, Western Dairy, DairyTas, DairySA, SubTropical Dairy and Dairy NSW (i.e., funded by the levy, through Dairy Australia).

The LPAC comprised 15 people – an independent chair, 12 dairy farmers (three of whom are from industry organisations) and two representatives from industry organisations. They met over six months (April to September) with two members resigning in September when the poll options were announced.

LPAC Recommends Poll Of Levy Payers - July 2021

Following input and engagement with dairy industry stakeholders, including farmers, the LPAC has recommended a poll be conducted of dairy levy payers to determine the future level of the Dairy Service Levy. Read the media release.

The LPAC arrived at its decision after considering submissions from Australian Dairy Farmers and Dairy Australia, as well as consultation from the Committee Members and direct input from dairy farmers via the Dairy Service Levy Feedback form.

  • Report of the Levy Poll Advisory Committee 7 July 2021

    PDF179.82 KB

LPAC Recommends Options for Levy Poll - September 2021

Following the recommendation to conduct a poll, LPAC was required to determine the voting options which will go on the ballot to be voted on in March 2022. The four (4) levy options to be presented in the levy poll are: 

  • no change to the levy (status quo)

  • an increase of 15%

  • an increase of 20% (recommended by LPAC)

  • an increase of 25%.

The levy option which LPAC recommends is an increase of 20%.

Refer to the media release for more information.

Why has LPAC recommended these options?

In making its decision, LPAC took into consideration many factors including that there has been no change to the levy since 2012, CPI increases in that time, financial projections of a continuing decline in reserves, future commitments required for the dairy industry to succeed, as well as analysis of the benefits of RD&E investment for dairy farmers. LPAC took into account this evidence and data as well as many views on the dairy service levy from industry stakeholders and farmers.

After detailed consideration of these factors and farmer feedback, LPAC determined that a levy increase of 20% is in the best long term interests of the dairy industry.

LPAC agreed that while an increase to the levy is recommended, farmers will make the final choice, and therefore an option of no increase has been included on the ballot paper. For more, read LPAC’s report on the levy poll voting options. 

View a video of Ron Storey, LPAC Independent Chair, to find out more about LPAC’s decision:

What Happens Next?

There are significant pre-poll activities to be undertaken by Dairy Australia over the October 2021 to March 2022 period such as verifying levy payer voting entitlements, preparing voting papers and an information pack.

There will be thorough communications to levy payers prior to the poll to ensure that farmers who are entitled to vote understand the options and how to vote.The poll is expected to be conducted in March 2022 with an outcome by April 2022.

Voting options announced by LPAC

September 2021

Pre-poll communications on levy options to dairy farmers

Oct 21 - Mar 22

Voting material and information pack provided to levy payers

Early 2022

Voting for levy poll opens

24 February 2022

Voting for levy poll closes 

31 March 2022

Outcome of the poll announced

April 2022

LPAC Members

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 (resigned Sept 2021)

    • Katrina Gofton, Tasmania

    • Brendan Rea, South-West Victoria

    • Matthew Trace, Queensland (resigned Sept 2021)

    • Andrew Aldridge, Tasmania

    • Karrinjeet Singh-Mahil, South-West Victoria

    • Andrew Cavill, South Australia 

    • Daryl Hoey, Gippsland, Victoria

    • Peter Evans, Western Australia

     

LPAC Terms of Reference

The Levy Poll Advisory Committee’s Terms of Reference summarises the role of the committee and requirements of committee members.

Media Releases and Communications

  • Media release LPAC Seeks Farmer Nominations 11 March 2021

    PDF121.94 KB
  • Media release LPAC Formation 20 April 2021

    PDF119.65 KB
  • Communication LPAC Formation 20 April 2021

    PDF120.38 KB
  • Communication LPAC Makes Progress 1 June 2021

    PDF245.71 KB
  • Report of the Levy Poll Advisory Committee 7 July 2021

    PDF179.82 KB
  • Media release LPAC Levy Poll Announcement 15 July 2021

    PDF161.37 KB
  • Media release Levy Poll Announcement September 2021

    PDF222.15 KB
  • LPAC Levy Poll options report September 2021

    PDF847.63 KB

Frequently asked questions

  • How was the LPAC appointed?

    • An independent Chair was considered by a selection panel who recommended the appointment to the Chair of Dairy Australia and President of Australian Dairy Farmers.

    • The Chair invited nominations for other representatives. All dairy levy payers were able to nominate for the committee and applications were assessed by an independent selection panel who ensured an appropriate representation of dairy levy payers as required by the legislation.

  • Do LPAC representatives receive remuneration?

    LPAC representatives are paid a sitting fee of $330/day for time spent on LPAC matters and any travel costs (fares, meals, accommodation) are 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 levy. 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 approved by the Minister and sent to all levy payers at least five weeks prior to the poll.

  • How does levy poll voting work?

    The levy poll has four options which means that a preferential voting system will be used to determine which levy option is preferred by eligible voters. Preferential voting requires voters to place the numbers 1 to 4 against their preferences, with 1 being their first preference.

    Members will be able to vote via post or electronically. Details will be outlined in the voter information pack which will be sent to all levy payers at least five weeks prior to the poll.

  • 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).

Contact

Questions relating to the levy review process or poll process should be sent to the email address listed below.

Enquiries

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