Farmers vote no to higher levy

No go: Farmers have voted for no change to the dairy service levy. Photo by Rick Bayne

Dairy farmers have voted to not change the current dairy service levy.

The dairy service levy is invested by Dairy Australia in services to benefit dairy farmers such as research and innovation, policy research, industry insights and delivering international market programs.

This levy is meant to be reviewed at least every five years but there has been no change to the levy, nor a vote by farmers, since 2012.

The 2022 Dairy Poll conducted between February 24 and March 3 gave farmers four voting options, determined by an independent Levy Poll Advisory Committee.

Link Market Services, the independent company engaged to conduct the vote, said that ‘no change’ to the levy was preferred among farmers, receiving 64 per cent of the votes.

The other options were a 15 per cent, a 20 per cent or a 25 per cent increase.

The Levy Poll Advisory Committee had recommended a 20 per cent increase.

Dairy Australia chair and South Australian dairy farmer James Mann thanked everyone who had been part of “this important process to determine the future investment in the industry”.

“Thanks also to the Levy Poll Advisory Committee, who gave a great deal of time and effort to determine the voting options,” Mr Mann said.

Dairy Australia managing director David Nation said 36 per cent voted for an increase in the levy, which he said indicated support for the key areas identified for continuing investment — labour, regional services, climate and policy development.

“We will need to consider how we address these key areas and now work to prioritise investment and services with these areas in mind, along with our current investment mix,” Dr Nation said.

NSW Farmers Dairy Committee chair Colin Thompson said the committee had supported the recommended 20 per cent increase, “but we respect the decision of those farmers and this democratic result”.

“We understand why farmers are reluctant to invest at this time, and the result demonstrates considerable support for the dairy services levy to remain at the current level,” he said.

Australian Dairy Farmers president Rick Gladigau said the poll result was not the end of the levy process and that the Federal Agriculture Minister must now consider the poll result before deciding on the levy amount.

“As we committed throughout the process, ADF will continue to work with Dairy Australia on the development of operational plans for the organisation, now within clear guidance as to future levy income,” Mr Gladigau said.

More information about the results can be found at: