Dairy Levy Review


Levy Poll Advisory Committee logo

Dairy Australia invests the service levy to provide services to benefit dairy farmers: 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.

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

    PDF, 179.82 KB

What Happens Next?

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.

Find out more about Dairy Poll 2022

Stay informed about the Dairy Poll at dairypoll.com.au - where information is regularly added to keep farmers updated on levy poll options, initiatives for each option, and Dairy Australia's investment areas.

Levy Poll Timeline

Voting options announced 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

Resources

  • Levy Review Consultation Sessions Presentation

    PDF, 248.97 KB

Dairy Service Levy Feedback

You can provide your input on the dairy service levy options by:

  • Submitting your feedback via the online form
  • Contacting your local, regional, LPAC Member

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 Rea, 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

To contact an LPAC member click here and attention to your preferred representative.

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

    PDF, 121.94 KB
  • Media Release LPAC Formation 20 April 2021

    PDF, 119.65 KB
  • Communication LPAC Formation 20 April 2021

    PDF, 120.38 KB
  • Communication LPAC Makes Progress 1 June 2021

    PDF, 245.71 KB
  • Report of the Levy Poll Advisory Committee 7 July 2021

    PDF, 179.82 KB
  • Media Release LPAC Levy Poll Announcement 15 July 2021

    PDF, 161.37 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. Having called for a poll, LPAC then needed to determine the levy options for the poll and its recommended option.

  • 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.

  • Who is entitled to vote?

    All levy payers are able to vote (not just members of DA). Voting entitlements will be advised to levy payers in advance of the dairy poll and will be based on the amount of levy paid. 
  • When will farmers be informed on how to vote?

    Levy payers will receive an information pack to explain how the vote will be conducted. There will be options for both postal and electronic voting. Full materials will be provided at the start of 2022. 

  • 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).

  • How do levy payers know how many votes they get? 

    Dairy Australia will write to levy payers ahead of the Dairy Poll to advise of voting entitlements.  

  • 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

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

To contact an LPAC member click here and attention to your preferred representative.

Enquiries

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