QDO elect new look leadership team



The Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation (QDO) has re-elected South Burnett farmer Brian Tessmann as President and Sunshine Coast Hinterland farmer Matthew Trace as Vice-President.

The newly appointed QDO board made its decision to continue under the steady leadership that Brian Tessmann has delivered since 2009, while bringing in a younger farmer that represents the industry’s next generation through Matthew Trace as Vice-President.

Brian thanked the board and QDO members for their continued support and said he was humbled to take on another term standing up for and furthering the interests of the state’s dairy farmers.

“It is no secret the Queensland dairy industry has been going through a hard time with the flow on affects from $1 litre milk, however with stable and proactive leadership the industry can and is overcoming these adversities,” said Mr. Tessmann.

“I want to commend outgoing Vice-President Ross McInnes for his years of service in the role and look forward to continuing working with him as he continues on the QDO council, servicing the interests of Queensland dairy farmers.

“On behalf of QDO members I want to congratulate Matthew Trace on his election as QDO Vice-President.

“Matthew will bring a much needed energy and perspective as a younger dairy farmer to the QDO leadership team.”

Matthew said he was humbled and excited to be appointed to the role and was looking forward to getting to work.

“Like all other dairy farmers my passion is to see our industry once again become and viable and profitable industry like it was in years gone by,” he said.

”For that to happen, the status quo can no longer remain.

“My commitment to members is to rattle the cage and get serious about how QDO and the industry as a whole can embrace change and make the most of opportunities to deliver the sustainable industry we all deserve.”

QDO election results for Scenic Rim/Lockyer Valley & Darling Downs districts

Brendan Hayden, QDO Darling Downs State Councillor 

Brendan Hayden, QDO Darling Downs State Councillor 

Ross McInnes, QDO Scenic Rim/Lockyer Valley State Councillor

Ross McInnes, QDO Scenic Rim/Lockyer Valley State Councillor

The counting of votes for Scenic Rim Lockyer Valley and the Darling Downs QDO elections has been undertaken and completed. We would like to congratulate Ross McInnes and Brendan Hayden on their winning Scenic Rim Lockyer Valley and Darling Downs districts respectively. Commiserations to John Saville and Gary Wenzel.

The 5 QDO Councillors commencing on 1 January 2018 will be Brian Tessmann (Central Queensland/Burnett), Matthew Trace (Gympie/ Moreton), James Geraghty (North Queensland), Brendan Hayden and Ross McInnes.

Thank you to all members who contributed to the process by voting and having input into your organisation’s future and direction.

Zischke brothers take out Norco Supreme Milk Quality Award 3rd year in a row

Zischke brother Left to right: Dallas, Gelen, Adrian & Melvyn

Zischke brother Left to right: Dallas, Gelen, Adrian & Melvyn

QDO members the Zischke brothers Melvyn, Dallas, Adrian and Glen from Haden on the Darling Downs have taken out the overall Norco supplier ‘Supreme Milk Quality Award’ for the third consecutive year.

The Zischke brothers came out on top of the over 220 farmers that supply Norco with an annual average bulk milk cell count (BMCC) of 56 and a standard plate count (SPC) of 2. The result is impressive when set against the Norco BMCC standard of 200.

So what do the brothers do to get it so right? Melvyn Zischke insisted that there was no particular golden touch, rather the high quality milk was a result of consistent and careful herd management.

The Zischke family have been dairying on the Haden property since 1974 and operate across three properties with a mixture of cropping that provides a consistent and viable supply of feed for the 120 cow dairy herd.

So, will the Zischke brothers make it four in a row? Only time will tell. One thing is for sure though, it will be hard to beat the boys from the Darling Downs who know a thing or two about producing high quality milk.

Next generation encouraged to apply for vacant QDO district positions

The next generation of QDO members are encouraged to nominate for vacant district council positions.

Currently QDO is seeking farmers to fill places in the following regions: North Queensland (1 position), Gympie/Moreton region (2 positions) and Central Queensland/Burnett (4 position). A big thank you to Grant Wieck (Darling Downs) and the Kay Tommerup (Scenic Rim/Lockyer Valley) how have been appointed to their local disctric councils.

The district council members they will work with other district councillors in their area to help set the direction of QDO. 

The positions will be filled on ‘first come first served’ basis. When these positions are filled no more nominations will be accepted. There will not be elections held for these roles.

Those interested are encouraged to contact Kerrie at the QDO office 3236 2955 ea@dairypage.com.au

Time off instead of overtime – Primary Employers QLD

The Fair Work Commission by Determinations of 27 November 2017 has varied the Award provisions in relation to Time-Off-In-Lieu (TOIL) of overtime under the Pastoral Award 2010 and the Horticulture Award 2010.
The new clause prescribes a number of conditions applying to a “time off instead of paying for overtime” arrangement including:-
 An agreement must be in writing and state:-

  1.  that the employer and employee agree that the employee may take time off instead of being paid for the overtime; 
  2. that the agreement can be terminated at any time by notice in writing;  
  3.  that overtime worked after the agreement is terminated will be paid at the overtime rate applicable to the overtime when worked;
  4. that time off instead of overtime must be taken within 6 months of it being worked, at a time or times agreed by the employee and employer;
  5. that, if time off is not taken as mentioned in paragraph (iv), the employer must pay the employee for the overtime, in the next pay period following those 6 months, at the overtime rate applicable to the overtime when worked.

Note: - A Draft Agreement has been inserted into both Awards which may be of assistance.

The period of time off that an employee is entitled to take is the same as the number of overtime hours worked, e.g. an employee who worked 2 overtime hours is entitled to take 2 hours paid time off.
Note paragraphs (iv) and (v) in particular.   If there is currently no limitation of accrual of days off you should ensure that they be taken within 6 months of accrual or they will have to be paid out at the overtime rate.
A record must be kept showing the number of overtime hours worked by the employee, when those hours were worked and an updated record of the employee’s time off instead of payment for overtime balance.
On the termination of the employee’s employment, if time off for overtime worked by the employee to which clause 31.5 applies has not been taken, the employer must pay the employee for the overtime at the overtime rate applicable to the overtime when worked.

Effect on Workplace Agreements and Individual Flexibility Agreements

To the best of our knowledge there have been no test cases to determine the effect of an Award variation of provisions that are contained in an Agreement and to that extent it is unclear at this stage whether current TOIL provisions in Was and IFAs will be affected by the FWC Determination.

If you have agreements in place with no limitation on accruals please contact us for further information.
Revised copies of the PA and HA incorporating this variation has published on the PEQ website under the various Industry Sections
The variation takes effect from the start of the first full pay period commencing on or after 27 November 2017.

QDO MEMBERS CAN ACCESS FREE INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS ADVICE BY PRIMARY EMPLOYERS QUEENSLAND (PEQ). If you are interested please call Kerrie – 3236 2955 / ea@dairypage.com.au

Political parties' response to QDO on Fair Milk Logo

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Last week QDO wrote to the major political parties and released a public statement calling for ongoing support for the Fair Milk Logo scheme committed to by Labor before the election, but was not finalist. QDO President Brian Tessmann called for all fair dinkum candidates and parties to support the future of the dairy industry in Queensland by committing to funding QDO to develop and operate an industry Fair Milk Logo scheme.

Labor - A re-elected Palaszczuk Government will continue to work with the QDO to promote Queensland milk and fund the committed Fair Milk Logo scheme. Labor will continue to work with the Queensland dairy industry to help farmers diversify their product range, better develop their markets and improve their branding and marketing,” he said.

Liberal National Party - The LNP will honour the budget commitment of $550,000 made by the Labor State Government to support QDO with milk marketing and the development of the marketing logo if the LNP is elected to Government.

One Nation Part- No specific mention of funding the Fair Milk Logo, however they were unequivocally supportive of the Queensland dairy industry and committed to ensuring and supporting farmers in getting a ‘fair go’.

Katter Australia Party - No response yet. However the party has in principle been very supportive of the ‘Fair Milk Logo’ and the industry as a whole.

Greens - Have yet to respond to dairy specific concerns.

QDO to deliver free farm biosecurity workshops in November and December

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QDO is running further biosecurity workshops across Queensland in November and December in Malanda, Nambour, Toowoomba and Beaudesert.

The workshops are for QDO members and are free for QDO members. Please take advantage of this opportunity as they will be the last workshops offered in this series. Places are limited so please rsvp to Kerrie ASAP to book your place.

QDO encourage you to join members at the upcoming farm biosecurity workshops that will provide you with a farm biosecurity plan.

If you are attending the workshops and have a laptop please bring it to the workshop. If you do not have a laptop, do not worry.

These workshops are delivered by QDO and are for QDO members.

  • Malanda - 24 November 10am-2pm, Lion training centre, Howards office, Malanda.
  • Nambour - 29 November, 10am-2pm, B-Block Conference Room at Maroochy Research Facility, 47 Mayers Road, Nambour.
  • Toowoomba 30 November, 10am-2pm, Green Room in Conference Centre, 203 Tor St, Toowoomba
  • Beaudesert4 December, 10am-2pm, Beaudesert Bowls Club, Hopkins Street, Beaudesert

RSVP: Kerrie ea@dairypage.com.au OR 3236 2955

Norco new CEO and financial result

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Norco Co-operative Limited (“Norco”) welcomed Ben White to the business on 24 October 2017 as Chief Executive Officer after the Board of Directors completed their recruitment process.

Chairman Greg McNamara believes that Ben’s diverse set of skills and experience will be an excellent fit with the Norco business model, saying:“There are many exciting opportunities for Norco in the future and we look forward to Ben leading management and staff through this next exciting phase in our long and proud history.Ben brings to Norco a wide-ranging career in livestock, food, agribusiness and agriculture across Australia and South-East Asia.”

Mr McNamara added: “Ben has particularly strong leadership skills through the ability to create, develop and enable teams of people to achieve beyond their best, by enhancing their skills and passion for the business they work in. Ben has already demonstrated that he will be leading from the front and will be actively engaging with Norco’s Members / Milk Suppliers, Board, staff and customers.”

Ben is originally from the NSW Riverina growing wool, meat, wheat, barley and horses on the family farm. He is a passionate advocate for Australian farmers and their ability to directly seize opportunities through integrated value chains, so that returns can be maximised for the people who dedicate themselves to creating food, fibre and beverage products of excellence. He also keenly supports the view that younger people must be able to have meaningful and prosperous careers within Australia’s greatest industry.

Ben is very proud to have been asked to lead Norco, a 100% farmer owned, Australian dairy co-operative, saying: “It is an honour to have been given this opportunity to lead this iconic co-operative through our next stage of profitable and sustainable growth. In just two weeks I have already learnt so much about this diverse agricultural co-operative and I look forward to working with the Norco team on strategies that will take Norco from good to great!

There is so much happening in the dairy industry at the present time and it is crucial that Norco is well placed to take advantage of any opportunities that are identified in the short, medium and long term.”

Financial result for 2016/17
Leading up to the 2017 Annual General Meeting to be held in Toowoomba on 15 November, Norco Co-operative Limited Chairman, Greg McNamara, is pleased to be able to report that the Co-operative has achieved a solid set of financial results for 2016/17. Norco’s diversified business model, geographical positioning, quality of product and strong long-term relationships have again been significant drivers in achieving these financial results.

Mr McNamara said: “We have finished the 2016/17 financial year with an EBITDA (Earnings before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortisation) of $8.859 million and a Net Profit of $1.122 million. This is after having been able to retain our total average farm gate price for our Northern Region supply as well as maintain the previously communicated position for our Southern Region milk supply.

We are absolutely focused on consistently demonstrating that a farmer owned co-operative model with solid strategy, direction, management and performance can continue to prosper.”

Highlights achieved by Norco in the 2016/17 financial year included:

  • Record total sales of $555.6 million, up 2.7 percent on the previous year.
  • Record Member milk supply volume of 221.8 million litres.
  • Record Total Average Member Return (TAMR) of 58.18 cents per litre, up from 58.06 cents per litre on the previous year (TAMR consists of milk pay, dividends and Suppliers’ Patronage Scheme rewards).
  • Norco branded milk sales increased by 34.6 percent over the previous year.

Mr McNamara added: “Our diversified business model, geographical positioning, quality of product and strong long term relationships have again been significant drivers in achieving these financial results. Our unique proposition in the market place as a true co-operative owned by Australian farmers continues to resonate with a growing consumer base.

The Board and management team are closely aligned on growing our geographic footprint beyond our traditional areas in the Norco Foods business. This strategy will have far reaching benefits, including creating efficiencies in our manufacturing facilities and opportunities for our Members to grow their milk supply with stable milk prices. The profitability of our Rural Retail / Agri business unit also plays a key role in our diversified business model, helping to safeguard both overall business profitability and Member profitability.”

Mr McNamara also acknowledged Norco’s former Chief Executive Officer, Mr Brett Kelly, who resigned on 29 September 2017, as playing a key role in achieving these results: “Brett has been instrumental in the Co-operative posting excellent results in recent years as well as playing a pivotal role in Norco gaining access to new markets both domestically and internationally. I would like to thank Brett very much for his significant contribution over a period of more than nine years.”  

At the 2017 Annual General Meeting Members will be asked to approve a 6.0 percent dividend on paid up capital held as at 30 June 2017 based on the profit result for 2016/17. The retiring Directors for the Northern and Central Regions, being Mr Heath Hoffman and Mr Greg McNamara respectively who were eligible for re-election, will be declared re-elected at the meeting. Members will also be formally introduced to Norco’s new Chief Executive Officer, Mr Ben White at the meeting.

QDO Election notice for Darling Downs, Scenic Rim and Lockyer Valley

Members in Darling Downs, Scenic Rim and Lockyer Valley districts, please return your votes to QDO by 5pm on Friday, 8 December.

Here are profiles of the four candidates for State Council positions in the Darling Downs and Scenic Rim/Lockyer Valley regions:

QDO State Council Candidates for Darling Downs District

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Brendan Hayden - Hi, my wife Corrie and I run a 200 cow dairy operation at Pilton. In 1972, I joined the Royal Australian Navy and subsequently volunteered as a submariner in 1976 until my discharge in 1982 and returned to the family dairy farm at Gowrie Junction, where I joined my father and uncle.  In 1992 we bought our current farm.

I have been heavily involved in the community with such groups as the RSL, Pony Club and school groups as President. More recently, I was a Dairy Farmers Ward rep for the local area until we changed Milk companies. I am currently sitting on the QDO State Council looking for re-election.

I now supply Parmalat producing 1.7 million Lt annually from a mixed herd of Guernseys and Holsteins. This has inspired me to reach for new targets in the dairy industry.

It is my aim to support the up and coming dairy farming generation and part of this is guidance to the young farmers and encouragement to be more involved with the QDO. I feel that the industry will benefit from fresh ideas and new technologies now available to help us with business management in turn encouraging ease of farming.

I want to be part of a ‘shake up’ for new ideas within QDO and our industry, taking it into the next 50 years. If we stay the same direction as we have, will there be an industry in the future? Change is hard, but change is needed.

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John Saville - My name is John Saville I am 56 years old married to Margaret we have three children Matthew 30, Ashleigh 25 and Nicarla 23.

I dairy in partnership with my wife Margaret and son Matthew on our third generation farm at Nobby, milking 70 cows, mainly dryland with limited irrigation and utilising silage for supplementary feeding.

I am currently a sitting state councillor for the Darling Downs District and I am offering myself for re-election. Since being elected to state council in 2006 I believe I have developed a good understanding of industry issues and the need to form strong relationships within the dairy industry, other stakeholders and Government, politicians and departmental staff.

With the continued contraction of the dairy industry in Qld in the future we will need to continue to work with and be able to call on the services of our national body ADF for advocacy and policy issues.  A strong relationship with Dairy Australia and SubTropical Dairy will also be needed to insure we have access and input into relevant and up-to-date research.

I am currently a member of the NLIS advisory Committee, stock and rural crime investigation squad liaison group and the animal bio-security and market access liaison group. Over time I have developed some good relationships with Dept staff and other industry reps on these committees and I feel with the all changes to our responsibilities with the new bio security act, it is important to have a continuing close working relationship with these groups. Other issues which need constant monitoring are water, the right to farm, electricity prices, fair milk contracts and alternative market opportunities just to name a few.

As we move forward with the restructure of the QDO and the changes with staff, I feel that with a mix of new blood we still need some experienced heads around the table to ensure a smooth transition and a continuation of the high standard of advocacy and representation for which the QDO has been known for in the past.

I look forward to your support and assure you I will continue to represent you and at every opportunity and push for a better deal for an industry which works hard to produce a world class product with ever increasing hurdles and not enough reward.

QDO State Council Candidates for Scenic Rim-Lockyer Valley District

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Gary Wenzel - My name is Gary Wenzel, and I’m 54 years old married with 4 grown up sons. My wife and I operate a dairy at Roadvale near Boonah. We milk between 120 and 150 cows producing 1,100,000 litres a year supplying Norco Co-operative for many years.

Our dairy operation consists of TMR feeding through winter and PMR feeding in summer. As we have no irrigation, we only grow a summer crop for grazing or silage and buy in corn and barley silage as needed. For many years I worked off-farm at Mutdapilly Research Station in the dairy, working a split shift which allowed me to be home during the day while my wife milked at home with help from the boys. While working off-farm, I gained a lot of experience working with a wide range of people from research scientists, technical staff, vets, uni students and other staff.

Currently I am a Director of United Milk Producers Co-operative Association, President of the Moreton Sub Branch H.F.F.A, and Vice President of the Roadvale Water Board.

While I have no previous experience in dairy politics, I have always been interested in the Queensland dairy industry and it concerns me the numbers of Dairyfarmers who are no longer members of the QDO, approximately 35%, which makes me wonder what the QDO needs to do to gain more.

If elected I will do my best to convey farmers views back to the QDO. Thank you for considering me as a candidate. If you wish to contact me, my mobile is 0427 779 726.

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Ross McInnes - Ross lives at Harrisville in South East Queensland and is in a family partnership with brothers Duncan and Morris milking 500 cows in a partial mixed ration farm system. He has 3 children ranging from 31 to 24 years old.

He has been involved in various community organisations including Rural Youth, President of Fassifern Rugby League, President and coach for 10 years with Fassifern Junior Rugby League, Charter member and 2-time President of the Rotary Club of Fassifern Valley and was chair of the Harrisville 150 year Anniversary in 2013.

He has been on State Council of QDO since 2003, replacing former long term President Pat Rowley.  In 2006 he was elected to the executive, and became Vice President in 2009, a position he still holds. He has been the QDO rep on the QFF Water Policy Committee since 2003 and is the current chair of that committee which now includes Energy.

In 2004 he was appointed as QDO rep on the Subtropical Dairy Programme Board and held that position til 2009 when the board was restructured as a skills-based board. Ross was appointed chair of SDP in 2009 and held that position until 2016. Ross was involved in the planning for the relocation of the Mutdapilly Research Station to UQ Gatton and currently sits on the Management Committee for the UQ dairy operation.

He has also sat on the NRM and Farming systems Policy Advisory Groups (PAGS) for the Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF).

Shoppers two-faced over $1 milk: Wesfarmers boss


As reported in Dairy Australia's Dairyweb News - November 6

The retiring boss of Wesfarmers says buyers opt for cheap milk despite professing support for dairy farmers.

Outgoing Wesfarmers MD chief Richard Goyder said: “If you went outside now and asked people, ‘Would you buy $1 milk or $1.20 if 20c went back to the dairy farmers’, 100% of them will tell you, ‘No, I’ll buy it at $1.20’,” he said, but added: “I’ll tell you, when they go to the supermarket, they buy the $1 (milk).”

He said:  “I don’t have an issue with what we did because ... subsequently we paid the processors who supply us with milk more.”

Addressing the National Press Club, he criticised the rash of government inquiries into dairying. “What the dairy industry of this country needs is world-class infrastructure to get its products to markets and it need to be a world-class efficient business,” he said. “It doesn’t need a Senate inquiry to inquire into that.”