Dairy Levy Review


Levy Poll Advisory Committee logo

Dairy Australia’s role is to provide services that benefit and advance dairy farm businesses and the industry. The levy contributes to research and innovation and the delivery of services that support farm business management, tools to adapt to the environment and address climate, attracting people to the industry and building skills, driving community trust and support for dairy through marketing, policy research, market insights, and trade relations.  

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. Since 1997, there has only been one change to the levy – a 10% increase in 2010.

Approximately $55M is invested each year to help deliver these services, which includes 50% from levy funds, 35% Government and 14% external contributions/grants, other 1%. For more information on the below areas of investment and what it means for your farm business click here.

Dairy Australia priorities

On-farm examples

Approx $

1. More resilient farm businesses

Increase farmer skills in business planning, risk management and finances.

$7-8m (13%)

2. Attract and develop great people for dairy

Support farm businesses to attract, develop and retain good people.

$6-7m (11%)

3. Strong community support for dairy

Promote dairy to consumers and the broader community, Dairy Matters, etc.

$8-9m (14%)

4. Thrive in a changing environment

Provide resources to help manage climate and environmental challenges on-farm.

$4-5m (7%)

5. Success in domestic and overseas markets

Build relationships and promote Australian dairy in overseas markets.

$7-8m (12%)

6. Technology and data-enabled dairy farms

Research in genetics of pasture and cattle, DairyBio, DataGene, etc.

$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 LPAC manages the levy review process and it comprises of nine dairy farmers along with five representatives (three of which are dairy farmers) from industry bodies (as required by legislation). 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.

Dairy Levy Review Submission and Feedback

In the LPAC's role of reviewing whether the levy should increase, decrease or stay the same, the LPAC will receive and consider:

  • direct submissions from Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) and Dairy Australia (DA)
  • feedback and input from dairy farmers via the Members of LPAC and the feedback button below

This review is not about industry advocacy, code of conduct, milk price – the LPAC review of the levy relates only to services delivered by the levy – which includes research and innovation, learning and capability development, marketing, policy research, market insights, and trade.)

  • Report of the Levy Poll Advisory Committee 7 July 2021

    (14 July 2021)
    PDF, 179.82 KB

What Happens Now?

LPAC will develop the set of voting options for the poll. It is important that farmers inform these options. Apart from the continuing consultation by LPAC Members with levy payers, LPAC will conduct online forums in August for levy payers to provide ideas and feedback. More information will follow shortly.

It is expected the options and recommendation will be completed by September 2021.

Following this, there are significant pre-poll activities to be undertaken by Dairy Australia such as verifying levy payer voting entitlements, preparing voting papers and an information pack.

There will be a variety of 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.

Levy Poll Timeline

LPAC consultation on voting options

August

LPAC to advise of voting options and recommendation

September

Voting materials and information pack provided to all levy payers

Early 2022

Levy poll for all levy payers

March 2022

Outcome of the poll announced

April 2022

Dairy Levy Review Feedback

To provide your views complete the below and attach any written feedback.

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
    • 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.

Media releases and communications

  • Communication LPAC Formation 20 April 2021

    (21 May 2021)
    PDF, 120.38 KB
  • Media Release LPAC Formation 20 April 2021

    (21 May 2021)
    PDF, 119.65 KB
  • Media Release LPAC Seeks Farmer Nominations 11 March 2021

    (21 May 2021)
    PDF, 121.94 KB
  • Report of the Levy Poll Advisory Committee 7 July 2021

    (14 July 2021)
    PDF, 179.82 KB

Frequently asked questions

  • What is the Levy Poll Advisory Committee?

    The Levy Poll Advisory Committee (LPAC) was 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 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 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 invited nominations for other representatives. All dairy levy payers were able to nominate for the committee and applications were assessed by a 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 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.

Contact

Please speak to a member of your regional team (Regional Development Program).

Updated information will also be made available throughout the levy review process.

Questions relating to the levy review process or nominating for the Levy Poll Advisory Committee should be sent to the email address listed below.


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