UPDATE: AUSTRALIA’S dairy farmers have voted to lift the Dairy Service Levy rate by 10 per cent.
Dairy farmers have given Dairy Australia a mandate to continue providing vital services to their industry with the vote.
The levy funds a range of industry services including on-farm research and development into pasture productivity, cow productivity, management of grains and farm systems.
Other services include industry protection and promotion, issues management, market analysis, health and nutrition research and initiatives to attract, retain and develop people across the supply chain.
Dairy Australia chairman and Bega dairy farmer, Max Roberts, said the result of the vote was a positive step forward for the industry.
President of Australian Dairy Farmers and chairman of the Dairy Poll Advisory Committee, Chris Griffin, said the increased levy revenue would allow Dairy Australia to continue the scale of investment and services required to guarantee the future success of the dairy industry.
The results of Dairy Poll 2012 were announced in Melbourne earlier today and show 60.13 per cent of the total votes validly cast were in favour of an increase in the Dairy Service Levy with 54.05 per cent of votes for a lift of 10 per cent and 6.08 per cent of votes in favour of a 15 per cent increase, while 39.87 per cent voted for the no levy option.
“We are satisfied with these numbers. There was a valid return of 50.86 per cent of the available number of votes which is an encouraging voter turnout that compares favourably to voter numbers in similar polls by other Rural Development Corporations and voting for a levy increase this time was a much harder ask for farmers than in 2007 when 32 per cent voted against maintaining the levy rate, which was the recommended option on that occasion,” Max Roberts said.
Dairy Australia will forward the results of the ballot and its recommendation to increase the levy rate by 10 per cent, in line with the result, to the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Senator, the Hon. Joe Ludwig.
A formal determination will then be made as to the next levy rate.
Max Roberts said the advice, assistance and support of the Dairy Poll Advisory Committee, Australian Dairy Farmers Ltd, Australian Dairy Products Federation, dairy companies, the eight Regional Development Programs, and the various State farmer representative organisations was vital during the development and delivery phases of Dairy Poll 2012.
Voting was conducted between February 3 and March 16, while 51 Dairy Poll meetings were held around the country in January and February this year.
Max thanked dairy farmers across Australia for their participation in the 2012 Dairy Poll.