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Archive for May, 2012

Free Trade Agreement with Malaysia promises new opportunities

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

From the Australian Food News website, 23 May 2012

malaysia map

A Free Trade Agreement, signed in Kuala Lumpur yesterday (22 May 2012) by Trade and Competitiveness Minister Craig Emerson and his Malaysian counterpart Mustapa Mohamed, will aim to improve trading conditions for Australian farmers and processed food producers.

The Free Trade Agreement will guarantee tariff-free entry for 97.6 per cent of recent goods imports by Malaysia from Australia once it enters into force, further integrating the Australian economy with the fast-growing Asian region. This will rise to 99 per cent by 2017.

Australian opportunities for agriculture and food

Malaysia is an important regional market for Australian agriculture – it is currently ranked among Australia’s top five markets for dairy, horticulture products, wheat and sugar.

The Free Trade Agreement with Malaysia will improve cooperation on food regulatory issues such as halal certification and abattoir accreditation, quarantine, food standards, labelling requirements and Customs clearance times.

Click here to read whole story on the AFN website.

Australian Government grants Dairy Australia money to assess “dairy farm energy efficiency”

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

From the Australian Food News website:

The national services body for the Australian dairy industry, Dairy Australia, has received a AU$1 million Federal Government grant to be spent on assessing energy efficiency on dairy farms across the country.

Dairy Australia will also use the funding to provide over 900 farmers with information and technical support to improve farm energy efficiency.

The project is also being supported by the Australian Dairy Industry Council, milk processors and state agencies.

Dairy Australia Natural Resource Management Program Manager Catherine Phelps said there is a high level of interest in energy efficiency in the dairy industry and farmers are increasingly concerned about the cost of energy impacting on their business.

Click here to read the full article on the Australian Food News website.

Australian success at 2012 International Wine Challenge in London

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012


From the Australian Food News website, 22 May 2012:

Australian wineries are celebrating their success at the 2012 International Wine Challenge with a record 69 Gold medal winning wines – an increase of almost 15 per cent year on year.

Australia also retained its world ranking position at number two, behind France, and was the country with the highest percentage of wines entered which received awards (83 per cent).

The International Wine Challenge 2012 took place in London this week, with the results being announced today at the London International Wine Fair.

A number of Australian wineries picked up more than one of the highly coveted Gold medals. Australian Vintage Limited led the way with seven Gold medal wins, Wolf Blass Wines won six, and Hardys Wines and Yalumba won four each.

Australia’s iconic red, Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet Sauvignon was one of two Gold medals awarded to Penfolds Wines.

Click here to read the full article on the Australian Food News website.

Note: New wine industry qualifications are now available – see site for details

Certificates II and III in Wine Industry Operations

2012 Australian Grand Dairy Awards: Best of the Best Cookbook

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

EA+edited+5218.AGDA.Bestcookbook.LRDairy Australia has released at 2012 Australian Grand Dairy Awards: Best of the Best Cookbook.

Click here to view the cookbook online on issuu.

Click here to access a PDF which can be saved and printed [PDF:3.6MB]

NSW Government introduces new animal welfare laws for domestic abattoirs

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

From the Australian Food News website:

New legal requirements are being introduced in New South Wales and will require all abattoirs to designate an Animal Welfare Officer to be present on the premises to monitor and take responsibility for the welfare of animals.

Minister for Primary Industries, Katrina Hodgkinson, today announced the new “animal welfare package” to lift animal welfare standards in all domestic abattoirs.

“Only employees that have undertaken specific animal welfare officer training will be eligible to be designated”, Ms Hodgkinson said.

The new animal welfare package is part of wider review of domestic abattoir operations by the NSW Government.

The new animal welfare package announced today by the NSW Government will ensure the following measures will be imposed as a condition of the abattoir’s licence:

  • All domestic abattoirs, by 1 January 2013, are required to designate a trained Animal Welfare Officer to be on the premises while processing is occurring. Only employees that have been trained in the relevant component of the of the MTM11 Australian Meat Industry Training Package will be eligible to be a designated Animal Welfare Officer;
  • All relevant employees are required to undertake training in the “stunning, sticking and shackling” component of the MTM11 Australian Meat Industry Training Package by 1 July 2013; and
  • All NSW domestic abattoirs are required to comply with the mandatory adoption of Section 2 of the “Industry Animal Welfare Standards for Livestock Processing Establishments preparing meat for human consumption”, 2nd Edition.

Click here to read the full article on the Australian Food News website.

New ideas on Packaging in AFGC White Paper

Monday, May 21st, 2012

From Australian Food News website, 10 May:


According to the AFGC, while significant progress has been made towards sustainability, for example through lightweighting of packaging and higher recycling rates, a number of challenges remain. These include:

• a continuing focus on waste and litter, which may mean that other important sustainability issues are being overlooked or even exacerbated;

• a generally poor understanding of the important role that packaging plays in delivering products to consumers and the implications of this for sustainability.

The AFGC’s White Paper considers both of these issues within a sustainability framework.

See the whole article on the Australian Food News website here

Download the White Paper from the Australian Food and Grocery Council website

MINTRAC making great strides in niche meat market training

Friday, May 18th, 2012


From the May MINTRAC Newsletter:
MINTRAC is currently brokering several programs under the National Workforce Development Fund (NWDF), through both AgriFood Skills Australia and Manufacturing Skills Australia.
Between now and the end of 2013, the current programs are running:

Advanced Diploma in Meat Processing (10 students)
Diploma in Meat Processing (34 students)
Certificate IV in Occupational Health and Safety (31 students)
Certificate IV in Training and Assessment (42 students)

See MINTRAC full Newsletter here

(Ed note: pulling groups of students together from across the whole country is a great way to upskill staff where a single state based RTO might not be able to recruit adequate numbers in that state.)

Federal Budget 2012 – Australian Apprenticeship Reform

Tuesday, May 15th, 2012

The following changes to the Australian Apprenticeships Incentives Program will be implemented from 1 July 2012:

  • changes to the standard employer incentives for employers of existing workers undertaking an Australian Apprenticeship (at the Certificate III level and above) in an occupation not listed on the *National Skills Needs List The following changes apply for this cohort:
  • removal of the standard commencement payment
  • increased standard completion payment (from $2,500 to $3,000)
  • movement of the timing of payment of the standard commencement payment from being paid at three months after commencement to six months after commencement
  • See announcement here

    Note: Certificate II incentives continue as before in their limited way – ie. not in metropolitan cities unless a targetted group.

Federal Minister seeks assurances TAFE standards are safe

Monday, May 14th, 2012

From The Age website, 12 May 2012
“VICTORIA could miss out on $435 million in federal funding for the TAFE sector if the state government’s changes threaten national skills reforms.
Federal Tertiary Education Minister Chris Evans has called on his state counterpart, Peter Hall, to provide urgent assurances about Victoria’s TAFE cuts and whether they were a threat to training standards.”

Read more here.

Four year food industry plan unveiled in State of Victoria budget

Friday, May 11th, 2012


From the Australian Food News website:

The Victorian Government announced this week in its annual Budget that it has set aside AU$61.4 million of funding in this year’s State Budget for the food and agriculture industries.

Revealing the State Budget for 2012/13 on Tuesday 2 May 2012, the Victorian Government outlined a four year funding plan to protect food and agriculture.

The AU$61.4 million has been earmarked help build profitability and productivity of the dairy, red meat, grains and horticulture industries, as well as improve biosecurity measures across the State’s farm sector.

Click here to read the full article on the Australian Food News website.


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