Symposium ignites push to establish a voluntary national verification system


A symposium on Innovation in Natural Resource and Animal Welfare Management—Agricultural Competitiveness has called for the establishment of a national voluntary environmental and animal welfare certification system.

In opening the symposium the Federal Member for Maranoa, the Hon. Bruce Scott highlighted increasing consumer connection with food and where and how it is produced as a major factor in accessing increasingly affluent export markets. According to Scott these significant opportunities can only be captured though credible certification.

The symposium was convened by the Australian Land Management Group (ALMG) on 11 June in Brisbane.

On releasing the symposium report ALMG CEO Tony Gleeson said that investing in soft infrastructure needs to go hand-in-hand with investment in physical infrastructure. 

"A well-designed voluntary verification system will improve on-farm productivity and environmental and animal welfare outcomes as well as enabling Australian agriculture to be more competitive in higher priced markets, both domestically and internationally.

"Putting in place trace-back systems and systems to verify product quality and safety, including verification of environmental and animal welfare credentials, is increasingly important as profitability becomes more and more reliant on competitiveness in higher priced global and domestic markets."

This is particularly so according to Gleeson as economies mature and their performance becomes increasingly reliant on sectoral interdependencies.

"Improving NRM and animal welfare needs to be an integral component of government policies and programs and business investment and operational decisions," Mr Gleeson said.

ALMG is the pioneer of Certified Land Management (CLM), the only Australian whole-of-farm environmental and animal welfare management system that operates across all land-based rural industries. CLM is a registered certification trademark and complies with the internationally recognised ISO 14001 environmental management standards.

The Symposium brought together key policy makers, representatives of the food and fibre supply chain, and specialist environmental and animal welfare interest groups, as well as landholders from across Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

ALMG Group Director and Landcare pioneer Jock Douglas told participants that Certified Land Management had proven itself as a standout innovation in natural resource management and that the time had come for it to be supported by both government and industry.

"Our markets are demanding it and the time has come for government and industry to support a national voluntary certification system to substantiate our sound environmental and animal welfare management practices."

ALMG is a not-for-profit organisation established by a group of progressive Australian landholders committed to responsible and verifiable environmental and animal welfare management.

ALMG is supported by the Australian Government Biodiversity Fund, Elders, the Maranoa Regional Council, the Murray Darling Basin Committee and innovative farmers.