News and Media

This page showcases news items about the AFI’s work. Click the button below for a list of AFI media releases.

AFI in the news

KATHARINE MURPHY, The Guardian,
19 June 2021

It is worth letting Lowe explain: “Many international investors are very focused on this issue and it’s particularly important for the agricultural sector because up to 70% of agricultural output in Australia gets exported – so you are relying on overseas markets, and increasingly overseas investors are asking about the carbon content of production, and that is a trend that is only going to continue.

“So agriculture has tremendous opportunities here, but we need to find ways to disclose to global investors and global customers the decarbonisation strategy and how successfully we are doing that. It is a really important issue and it’s going to become more important.”

MARION RAE, Perth Now, 17 June 2021

Australia is tackling the most complex Indo-Pacific environment since World War II, Trade Minister Dan Tehan told an Australian Farm Institute conference in Toowoomba on Thursday.

He reiterated Australia’s calls for a WTO dispute settlement process that works.

NICK O'MALLEY, WA Today, 16 June 2021

As Mr Beshara put it in a recent speech to the Australian Farm Institute: “the UK has 32 native species of trees and shrubs full stop. Australia has 850 species of eucalypts alone”.

Mr Beshara argues Australia’s rich biodiversity confers upon us a special responsibility of stewardship, but by some measures Britain has greater protection standards.

MARION RAE, The Western Australian,
17 June 2021

The economy is moving from recovery to expansion mode and this will bring challenges for regional areas lacking workers to farm, mine and build homes, the central bank warns.

The bounce-back has been quicker and stronger than expected, supported by a V-shaped recovery in farm output, Governor Philip Lowe told an Australian Farms Institute conference in Toowoomba on Thursday.

NEIL LYON, Grain Central, 18 June 2021

Addressing the Australian Farm Institute’s ‘Agriculture and trade in disrupted economies’ conference in Toowoomba this week, Dr Lowe said the agricultural sector had played a key role in driving the level of output in Australia above pre-pandemic levels.

“Not many other countries can say that. The bounce-back has been quicker and stronger than we expected,” he said.

NEIL LYON, Grain Central, 21 June 2021

Australian agriculture needs to develop a clear framework showcasing sustainability and decarbonisation credentials to investors and customers if it is to stay globally competitive.

That was a recurrent call from a number of speakers at the Australian Farm Institute’s ‘Agriculture and trade in disrupted economies’ conference in Toowoomba this week.

MATT COUGHLAN, The Northern Beaches Review, 17 June 2021

Trade Minister Dan Tehan said the region should stick with the established rules as China becomes more assertive.

“Without that it’s the global heavyweights that dictate the terms,” he told the Australian Farm Institute conference.

“That’s not in our best interests.”

JAMIESON MURPHY, FarmOnline,
21 June 2021

“China had a big eye on demonstrating to trade aficionados in Geneva that they really were an open market-based economy. Australia was a convenient way, because we’re a small country, to make that point and I think it was effective.”

Speaking at an Australian Farm Institute conference, Mr Robb said the current economic sanctions China was using against Australia for “supposed geopolitical actions” should be viewed in the same scope.

ABC News, 21 June 2021

Rather than threaten rate hikes, however, Dr Lowe last week told a gathering in Toowoomba that the RBA and the banking regulator APRA had discussed other means of curbing the property boom.

“Because I don’t think it’s in the country’s interest to have an extended period where credit growth is running ahead of growth in our incomes, particularly given the high levels of debt,” he told the Australian Farm Institute.

PHILIP LOWE, Reserve Bank of Australia, 17 June 2021

Keynote Address at the Australian Farm Institute Conference: Toowoomba – 17 June 2021

As we all know, the past year has been an extremely challenging one in the life of our nation. But as a country we pulled together, and we have been up to the task. The results are evident in our health and economic outcomes, which are better than elsewhere in the world. It is important that we don’t lose sight of this.

SARAH MARTIN, The Guardian,
17 June 2021

The Reserve Bank governor, Philip Lowe, says the bank is considering policy measures to rein in ballooning household debt if it becomes a risk to economic stability, but says it is not the bank’s job to target house prices.

In a speech to the Australian Farm Institute conference in Toowoomba on Thursday, Lowe also cast doubt on the government’s strategy for wage rises, saying even in areas where the labour market was tight, pay packets were not increasing.

SHANE WRIGHT, Sydney Morning Herald,
17 June 2021

Reserve Bank governor Phil Lowe has sounded a warning to the nation’s lenders to maintain borrowing standards given soaring house prices while dampening expectations of strong wages growth in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dr Lowe, speaking to the Australian Farm Institute Conference in Toowoomba on Thursday, said the economy including the farm sector was enjoying a “V-shaped” recovery from the pandemic recession.

JACQUELINE ROWARTH, Rural News, 1 June 2021

Using the same data and comparing it with a national database, the Australian Farm Institute (AFI) calculated that the opportunity cost of biological resilience was A$2.46 million over a decade – a quarter of a million Australian dollars a year.

Beef Central, 11 February 2021

Australian Farm Institute executive director Richard Heath said while there had been a lot of hype around the potential of so-called ‘fake meat’ as a disruptor to the livestock industry, this research shows the emerging market for alternative proteins should not be seen as a threat to existing production systems but as a means of diversifying choices for producers, processors and consumers.

SAMUEL LAWRENCE, Food Frontier, 29 May 2021

The Australian Farm Institute also reinforced the complementarity and necessity for protein diversification in its 2020 report commissioned by Agrifutures, which stated ‘the emerging market for alternative proteins should be seen not as a threat to existing production systems but as a means of diversifying choices for producers, processors and consumers to fill the growing gap between global protein demand and supply.’

MIKE FOLEY, Sydney Morning Herald, 16 April 2021

Australian Farm Institute think tank manager Katie McRobert said Australian beef producers can make hay targeting Asian and Indian middle class consumers who are motivated by values as well as cost.

“These are discretionary spenders who care about whether forests are being burned to make way for their beef, or whether animals are pasture-raised in biodiverse environments,” Ms McRobert said. “The advantage for Aussie farmers won’t be a higher carcase price per se but instead access to a consumer class that other beef-producing countries may not be able to reach.”

ALLAN DAWSON, Manitoba Co-operator, 15 April 2021

“The (Australian) agriculture industry has really led this and has been pushing for these sorts of policy changes… ” Richard Heath, executive director of the Australian Farm Institute, told the Trade and Climate Change Virtual Conference April 7, organized by the Canadian Agricultural Policy Institute and Washington, D.C.-based Farm Foundation.

When it comes to pushing for climate change mitigation there’s a big gap between Australian farmers and their government “which has been resistant to significant change and embracing some of these more ambitious climate targets,” Heath told the online conference.

Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute, 17 April 2021

In this session, panelists will discuss climate actions in their countries as well as various carbon pricing options adopted in other jurisdictions and potential border measures to prevent carbon leakage. Panelists will discuss what challenges and opportunities they foresee given new and evolving standards and expectations for factoring climate change into trade agreements, while ensuring food security.

Speakers: Joe Glauber, International Food Policy Research Institute (moderator); Liang Sun, China National Institute of Standardization; Wendong Zhang, Iowa State University; Jennifer Turner, Wilson Center’s China Environment Forum; and Richard Heath, Australian Farm Institute

MIKE FOLEY, Sydney Morning Herald, 13 February 2021

Australian Farm Institute executive director Richard Heath says “there’s world-leading water efficiency in Australian cropping”, generated by boosting organic matter in the soil, including carbon. “It’s astounding looking at our productivity compared to our rainfall,” he says.

Agriculture production that also reduces emissions is more resilient because “losing carbon out of agriculture systems is waste, no matter how it happens”.

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