Part 1 Overview of the project

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Policy Partners was engaged by the Australian Organic Industry Working Group (AOIWG) to assist it to develop a roadmap to improve the representation of Australia's organic industry.

The AOIWG consists of industry leaders from across Australia collaborating on establishing a harmonised national voice for all organic producers, certifiers and the supply chain.

We undertook consultations between June and October 2017, including convening regional consultation workshops in seven locations and conducting personal and telephone interviews with key industry and external stakeholders.

The regional consultations should be the beginning of a wider program of engagement with the industry, including the many grassroots operators and other key stakeholders.

Not all organic operators are aware of the project and many of the policy issues are intricate and require a period of gestation on the part of operators before definitive views can be formed.

 

Introduction

This is a report to the Australian Organic Industry Working Group (AOIWG) scoping issues and options for improving the representation of Australia's organic industry.

Part 1 is an overview of the project and processes

Part 2 presents some key insights regarding current industry representation and findings from the consultations

Part 3 focuses on options for improving the structure of organic industry representation

Part 4 addresses a range of related issues identified in respect of industry regulation, market integrity and standards

Part 5 sketches some ideas about opportunities for industry growth and development

Part 6 proposes a roadmap towards forming a peak body and some related tasks

Attachments A-D offer additional material generated during the consultations

The Australian Organic Industry Working Group

The project has been initiated by industry leaders from across Australia who are collaborating with a view to establishing a harmonised national voice for all organic producers, certifiers and the supply chain.

The working group was formed following a round of consultations with the office of the Hon. Barnaby Joyce MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, and the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources on how to increase the competitiveness of the organic sector.

It is envisaged that this project may result in a new national representative body that will be the voice of organic industries at national and state level and that promotes viable and sustainable industries with broad representation from all sectors.

In its initial phases, the project is being guided by a working group of producers and certifiers. These businesses have committed time and financial resources to progress the project to this point. The working group has also been engaging with the Australian Government to seek its support for the project.

What we’ve been asked to do

Policy Partners was engaged by the AOIWG to assist it to develop a roadmap to improve the representation of Australia's organic industry (Attachment A).

The project had three broad objectives:

  • undertake consultations with organic operators and key stakeholders to determine their views and priorities
  • provide executive support to the working group and assist it to understand how to resolve issues and consider implementation
  • prepare a roadmap of actions and timings to achieve a harmonised industry voice

We undertook consultations between June and October 2017. An issues paper and set of consultation questions were used to inform the consultations. Regional consultation workshops were convened in seven locations and we conducted personal and telephone interviews with key industry and external stakeholders (Attachment B).

We also convened a workshop with the AOIWG and participated in a conference with government agencies. To enhance communication nationally, a website and social media platforms were created to provide information on the project and permit feedback on the key issues. The certifiers were asked to circulate details of the workshops and project progress through their communication channels.

The consultations provided a meaningful opportunity for a cross‑section of stakeholders to engage in the project, but it is our view that the consultations we undertook should be the beginning of a wider program of engagement with the industry, including the many grassroots operators and other key stakeholders. Not all organic operators are aware of the project and many of the policy issues are intricate and require a period of gestation on the part of operators before definitive views can be formed.

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