Legislative changes ahead! Industry members take note.

Your chance for strategic input as an industry member: tell us how best we can represent you.

If you own an organic business, you will be interested in a consultation now taking place – aiming to deliver a harmonised voice to government on policies and programs that affect the organic industry.

There are looming legislative changes that could have a significant impact on your business.

The organic industry stands at a crossroads. The paths lead to either significant benefit to organic businesses in future, or to even lesser protection for both businesses and consumers than exists now.

Below we outline the current state of play, as well as the actions Australian Organic are committed to – in partnership with you, our members.

Changes to organic legislation: protecting the term ‘organic’

The Export Orders and related regulations that have held the organic industry together since 1992 via the National Standard, with organic as a prescribed good for export, are due to expire in 2020. If we ignore this space, the government in a de-regulatory mindset, would completely do away with all legislation and defer simply to the ACCC and the Australian Consumer Law, along with the market requirements of importing countries resulting in a less legislated and more open market than ever before.

On the upside, there is also the chance, if we speak with one strong voice, to get great outcomes for the industry, including a better legislative structure, R&D investment, and in greater resourcing for the ACCC to assist in policing the organic marketplace.

Australian Organic: our position on these issues

We have, and remain strongly in favour of:

*   one national industry standard (owned and managed by industry);

*   a legislative program for the term ‘organic’ for both domestic and exported goods;

*   better resourcing of the Department to work with industry to achieve greater market access;

*   better resourcing of the ACCC to take action against non-certified organic claims (market integrity).

The work we have done building recognition of the ‘Bud’ and the consistent communications around seeking certified products, has driven the growth of the industry and provided a trusted source for consumers. We must fight to protect what we have collectively built.

Get involved and lend your voice: events planned in the months ahead

A short term Australian Organic Industry Working Group has been established. The group consists of a sample of organic business people across sectors and aims to have industry-wide input, through effective consultation and open communications.

Australian Organic Limited have assisted in funding this consultation process to address these issues to hopefully once and for all resolve them. If our industry can harmonise with one voice to government, there is a great opportunity for us as an industry to benefit.

It is critical during the consultation phase, being managed by a group called Policy Partners, that you feed your own views in on these issues. You can have your say at http://onevoice.organicindustries.com.au or feed them directly to us and we will pass them on for you.

Our networking events will continue as always – click here for our calendar and here for upcoming events. Please book early to avoid disappointment. We are planning some exciting new awareness-building activity for Australian Organic Awareness Month in September and hope you and your teams will get involved.

The level of growth in our industry is a clear sign that we must preserve what we have created – there is much to celebrate and much to look forward to in the months and years ahead. We cannot sit back and silently assume others, including the government, have our best interests, so now is the time to have an opinion and be heard.

What to do now? We have a two pager on some of the issues as we see them and are interested in your views. Click here for this document. There will also soon be a Q&A document that you can fill in to feed your views on these issues to the consultants.

We hope in the weeks ahead there will also be announced some dates and places where you can do this in person – so please stay tuned for this.

We are forever grateful for your ongoing support and hope that you will join us in taking action.

PS – if you are not a member of Australian Organic Ltd but have a business interest in the organic industry, please contact us to find out how to join! This is in addition to and complimentary to your organic certification.

What price do you put on not being informed on issues that affect your organic business interests and investments?

For further information on membership, please contact our Member Support via email or phone (07) 3350 5706.