The Kiwis already have one. We need one too and Aussie dairy farmers are calling on people power to win it next Monday.
A free trade agreement with China is the difference between being truly competitive, or not, in one of the world’s most important markets for Aussie dairy. The peak body for Australian dairy farmers, appropriately named Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) is leading a social media campaign to get the deal done.
ADF CEO Natalie Collard answered some questions on the campaign.
MMM: What’s planned?
ADF: Through a coordinated social media campaign, ADF is seeking via a trending hashtag to raise public awareness and media focus on the benefits that a positive China-Australia FTA conclusion could achieve for the Australian dairy industry and the overall Australian economy.
This initiative has been embraced by the Australian agriculture community and National Farmers Federation and ramped up under an all-of-agriculture umbrella.
ADF is encouraging consumers and stakeholders to upload a photo of themselves (a.k.a. a “selfie”) holding a sign reading “#FTA4dairy” on social media, and including the campaign’s hashtag in their post as well “#FTA4farmers.”
MMM: Why is the FTA so important to dairy farmers and why should other Australians support it?
ADF: Signing a commercially meaningful FTA with China would allow the dairy industry realise its goals for growth. For a start, a “New Zealand plus” deal, one that is on terms or exceeds those of the deal that China signed with NZ in 2008, would deliver savings of at least $31.5 million, based on current China exports, as well as removing Australia’s competitive disadvantage with NZ. With the application of NZ terms it would save the dairy industry a cumulative savings total of $630m over the period 2016 – 2025.
It would deliver additional jobs in the farming, dairy processing and manufacturing sectors as well as indirect employment in logistics and shipping.
MMM: Who are you trying to reach with this message and why?
ADF: ADF is trying to reach as many people as possible. Anyone from the Australian dairy community – whether you are a dairy farmer, industry support group member, political representative, agriculture student, dairy supporter or everyday consumer, you can help! The further the reach, the more viral it will become. To have a top ranking trending topic on Twitter/social media will raise general awareness of the importance of a positive China FTA as well as generate media interest in our message and campaign.
MMM: I’m sure the ADF will lobby politicians directly – why the social media campaign?
ADF: ADF is seeking to shake up the way usual advocacy is done – we’re pursuing a grassroots approach. We want to put the China FTA on the community’s radar and indirectly pressure the government by showing them the community is watching and listening. ADF stresses that this is a non-politically aggressive campaign, aiming to highlight the positives a good dairy deal could achieve for Australian and Chinese people alike.
MMM: How can people become involved?
It’s easy! Just jump online on Monday, 1st September and tweet/upload positive messages on social media with the hashtag #FTA4dairy.
We encourage you to take a #FTA4dairy ‘selfie’ holding a piece of paper which reads a short message in support of a positive China FTA outcome for dairy and upload this to social media using the #FTA4dairy hashtag.
ADF encourages you to grab a pen and paper, and hand write one of the following messages to feature in your #FTA4dairy selfie – you may also like to be creative and make up your own:
· I support a dairy deal for our Aussie farmers #FTA4dairy
· China FTA dairy deal = more Aussie jobs #FTA4dairy
· China dining boom NEEDS Aussie dairy #FTA4dairy
· Give Aussie dairy farmers the same chance as NZ #FTA4dairy
· China FTA dairy deal = less tariffs, more savings #FTA4dairy
· We need a great dairy deal from China FTA #FTA4dairy
If you don’t have a social media account simply email your ‘selfie’ to ADF: firstname.lastname@example.org We’ll post it for you.