Grains, Seeds and Hay Biosecurity Industry Funding Scheme: Annual Report 2013/14

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Committee activities in 2013/14

Since the introduction of the IFS in 2010, the Industry Management Committee (IMC) has governed the collection, management and use of industry funds to deliver a biosecurity Scheme that benefits the Western Australian grains, seeds and hay industries.

During the 2013/14 year, the Grains, Seeds and Hay IMC held four ordinary meetings and two teleconferences. The focus of these meetings was to receive briefings and make decisions around the collection and remittance of grower contributions, progress of the IFS-funded programs and the general governance and effectiveness of the Scheme. 

Summary of key IMC activities during 2013/14

  • Input to the State Bedstraw Eradication Plan.
  • Discussion with the Biosecurity Council of Western Australia on biosecurity roles, responsibilities and principles.
  • Consultation with Scheme contributors regarding funding for skeleton weed control.
  • Four committee meetings, two teleconferences.
  • Endorsement and implementation of IMC strategic plan and activity plan.
  • Monitoring the remittance of contributions.
  • Communication and promotion of the IFS to industry.
  • Providing recommendations to the Minister on the 2014/15 IFS contribution rate and area of operation.
  • Approval of the 2014/15 IFS-funded programs.

Goal 1: Deliver acceptable and effective programs to meet the needs of industry

Industry communications and consultation

Industry consultation on funding for the Skeleton Weed Program

The IMC conducted a survey of participants in the Scheme to gauge the industry’s views on skeleton weed as a priority issue to be addressed via the Scheme. The survey was triggered by two issues — firstly, the grower contribution rate would need to be increased in order to sustain the Program in its current form; secondly, feedback from parts of the industry had indicated that skeleton weed should not be a priority of the Scheme.

The survey results confirmed skeleton weed as an issue the industry want to continue to fund via the Scheme. However, there was a relatively even divide in the responses with regard to the level of funds the industry were willing to contribute to the program. The IMC approached key industry organisations for further advice. This advice, coupled with the fact that WA had a record 2014 harvest (and therefore increased levels of IFS contributions), it was decided to maintain the current contribution rate. The IMC will continue to monitor the program and income; however, it is likely that either the costs of the Program will need to be reduced or the contribution rate will need to increase. The findings from the survey can be accessed from through the skeleton weed review section of our website.

General communications

The IMC have undertaken various communication activities over the year. The main aims of the communications were to:

  • Ensure Scheme participants were aware of the IFS area of operation, contribution rate, programs and activities.
  • Encourage industry feedback on the operation of the Scheme and functioning of the IMC.

Communication activities undertaken include:

  • Talks at various grower/industry group meetings.
  • Information brochures available at major field days.
  • Several media releases resulting in articles in the rural press and rural radio interviews.
  • Articles in regional AgMemos and other industry newsletters.
  • Participation in the 2014 Skeleton Weed Debrief.
  • Continued maintenance of the IFS information on the DAFWA website.

Monitoring the IFS-funded programs

Program development and implementation

The development of the annual IFS-funded programs was undertaken in conjunction with DAFWA. The key aim of the IMC input was to ensure that each program included suitable activities, outcomes and key performance indicators to meet industry’s expectations and needs. Over the course of the year, the Program Managers provided the IMC with comprehensive quarterly updates to inform the Committee of the work undertaken, issues and successes.

Determination of 2014/15 Scheme

During April 2014, the IMC confirmed the continuation of the Skeleton Weed Control Program and Bedstraw Eradication Program into 2014/15. To fund these programs, contribution rates of 30 cents per tonne for grain and seed, and 15 cents per tonne for hay were recommended to the Minister for Agriculture and Food. These rates were to apply to the first sale of grain, seed and hay produced within the WA agricultural areas.

The Minister endorsed the program, contribution rates and the area of operation, as published in the Western Australian Government Gazette (no. 75, 23 May 2014).

Compensation for foregone production

As part of the IFS-funded Bedstraw Eradication Program, ‘Approved Programs’ were developed and put into operation on areas quarantined due to the presence of three-horned bedstraw. These approved programs, which detail the management of the quarantined areas over the course of the year, were specifically designed to achieve the eradication of bedstraw; however, the specified management practices can result in reduced production from the quarantined areas. As such, the affected landholder/s may apply to the IMC for compensation for foregone production.

During 2013/14, two applications for compensation were made to the IMC. Both applications were accepted by the IMC and offers of compensation were made. The offers were accepted by the landholders.

Monitoring remittances on the sale of hay

From 1 July 2012, Grains, Seeds and Hay IFS contributions were collected on the sale of hay. Given that this was a completely new charge for hay producers, the IMC has continued to actively monitor the remittance of contributions to ensure compliance with the regulations and maximise the funds available to address biosecurity issues of concern to the industry. Where discrepancies have occurred, the IMC have followed these up with the company to successfully resolve the situation.