October 15 - 21, 2017: Issue 333

Major reforms to make private health insurance simpler and more affordable

October 13, 2017: Media Release - The Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health
The Australian Government has announced a wide ranging package of reforms to make private health insurance simpler and more affordable for Australians.
We know that every dollar matters to Australian families and these reforms will get better value for families and make policies easier to understand.

Private health insurance is an essential and valuable part of the Australia’s health system.

We are encouraging younger Australians to take up private health insurance by allowing insurers to discount hospital insurance premiums for 18 to 29 year olds by up to 10 per cent. The discount will phase out after people turn 40.

People with hospital insurance that does not offer full cover for mental health treatment will be able to upgrade their cover and access mental health services without a waiting period on a once-off basis. This will significantly enhance the value of private health insurance for young people.

To support Australians in regional and rural areas, insurers will be able to offer travel and accommodation benefits for people in regional and rural areas that need to travel for treatment.

We’re helping to reduce rising costs for health insurers – which would otherwise be passed on through higher premiums.

To achieve this, we have entered into an agreement with the Medical Technology Association of Australia to lower the price of implanted medical devices from 1 February next year. This will have immediate benefits for consumers in the form of lower premiums from April. 

We know that many people would like to be able to select a higher excess in exchange for lower premiums.

That’s why we will increase the maximum excess consumers can choose under their health insurance policies for the first time since 2001. This will allow many consumers to reduce their premium increase in 2019.

And we know that many people find private health insurance confusing. We will act to simplify private health insurance by requiring insurers to categorise products as gold/silver/bronze/basic, and use standardised definitions for treatments to make it clear what is and isn’t covered in their policies.

The privatehealth.gov.au website will be upgraded to make it easier to compare insurance products, and insurers will be able to provide personalised information to consumers on their product every year.

We’re also boosting the powers of the Private Health Insurance Ombudsman and increasing its resources to ensure consumer complaints are resolved clearly and quickly. 

After consultation with the private health insurance and medical sector, the Government has agreed to stop insurers from offering benefits for a range of natural therapies, such as Bowen therapy or Rolfing.

The Turnbull Government is committed to private health insurance and we’re committed to supporting the more than 13 million Australians that have taken out cover.

We are investing around $6 billion every year in the private health insurance rebate to help keep premiums affordable.

By contrast, Labor hates private health insurance and has already confirmed that they will cut the rebate. This will hurt millions of Australian families.

In Government, Labor cut $4 billion from the private health insurance rebate and means tested it. And now they’ve confirmed they want to do it again.

The Turnbull Government is committed to improving private health insurance into the future, and our reform work will continue. 

The Private Health Ministerial Advisory Committee will continue to examine issues such as risk equalisation, and we will work with the medical profession on options to improve the transparency of medical out-of-pocket costs. 

Committees will be established to review funding methodologies for rehabilitation care and day-only mental health care to ensure that insurers fund the most efficient models of care.

The second tier default benefit, providing a safety net for consumers attending non-contracted hospitals, will continue, but the administration of eligibility will be transferred to the Department of Health.

Australia’s health system is one of the best in the world where every Australian has access to the best doctors, nurses, hospitals and medicines. 

It is essential for the health of our nation that we continue to maintain a strong and competitive private health insurance market and I believe these reforms will do just that.

New guide to navigate the NDIS

12 October 2017
A new guide developed jointly by the Australian Government and Flinders University will support mental health providers in making it easier for people with a psychosocial disability to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

The Hon Jane Prentice, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services, said community based mental health providers are at the front line of helping their clients’ access the Scheme.

“For people with significant disability, the NDIS can be life changing – giving people the power to choose the support they need, when and where they need it,” Mrs Prentice said.

“Consultation with mental health providers has revealed a strong need to assist people with a psychosocial disability through the NDIS process.

“The Guide, Accessing the NDIS, provides practical advice based on providers’ own experiences.

“The information helps simplify the NDIS requirements, such as explaining how clients can test their eligibility and meet NDIS criteria.

“The Guide was field tested with the mental health sector, consumers, and carers to ensure it is helpful and easy to use.”

The Guide builds on work occurring in the National Disability Insurance Agency to improve pathways for people with psychosocial disability and work underway by the Productivity Commission and the Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS.

Rewards for reducing power use

October 11, 2017: NSW Government
A new pilot program will reward households and businesses for reducing their power consumption this summer.

Four pilots of the demand response program are being co-funded with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to free up electricity supply during peak periods over the summer.

The three-year trial will be run across NSW, VIC and SA. Energy Australia, AGL, Flow Power and EnerNOC will participate in the NSW trial.

The trial will deliver 61 MW of spare capacity for NSW and will increase to 80 MW by 2019.

Households and businesses who participate in the trial will be rewarded with batteries and smart appliances.

Minister for Energy and Utilities Don Harwin said the program is another step in ensuring reliable electricity supply for the people of NSW.

“These initiatives will see advanced technologies introduced to thousands of NSW homes and businesses to help them save energy and money,” Mr Harwin said.

The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) will start testing the pilot program next month.

$200 Million Research Boost to Improve the Lives of Australian Patients 

11 October 2017
Prime Minister - The Hon Malcolm Turnbull
Minister for Health- The Hon. Greg Hunt
The Turnbull Government is investing over $200 million in world-leading medical research projects to improve the lives of patients battling cancers, mental health illnesses and chronic disease.

In addition to this significant investment in medical research, the Turnbull Government is providing $5 million to CanTeen under the Medical Research Future Fund Accelerated Research program to improve access to cutting edge breakthroughs for adolescents and young adults with cancer.

The investment in CanTeen will facilitate new clinical trials into cancer types with the highest death rates for adolescents and young adults.

This builds on our recent commitments of $20 million for the Zero Childhood Cancer initiative, $13 million for clinical trials for rare cancers and rare diseases under the MRFF Lifting Clinical Trials and Registries Capacity program and $5.8 million to Cancer Australia to fight childhood cancers.

The $202 million in funding announced today includes over $40 million for cancer research, including in areas like melanoma research.

Over $29 million will be invested into mental health research, almost $23 million for cardiovascular disease research, $8 million for diabetes research and $5 million for obesity research.

Improving the health of Indigenous Australians is a priority with $15.5 million for new research.

Over $15 million in funding will be targeted at research projects that support Australians who suffer severe injuries.               

A total of 326 research projects will be funded at a cost of more than $197 million under the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

And a further 13 Fellowships have been allocated $5.64 million under the $8 million MRFF Next Generation Clinical Researcher Fellowship program, which supports Australia’s new and up and coming research talent.

These grants will increase clinical research capacity in the health and medical research workforce, providing greater opportunities for more breakthroughs.

A full list of grant recipients is available on the NHMRC website: www.nhmrc.gov.au.

Information on the Medical Research Future Fund and grant recipients can be found at www.health.gov.au/mrff.

Providing Affordable Access to New Treatment for Leukaemia and Lymphoma 

09 October 2017
Prime Minister - The Hon Malcolm Turnbull
Minister for Health- The Hon. Greg Hunt
More than 920 Australians each year will benefit from affordable access to a new medicine for leukaemia and lymphoma patients.

Ibrutinib (sold as Imbruvica®) would normally cost $187,390 on average per course of treatment, putting it beyond the reach of most patients.

This $466 million listing on the pharmaceutical benefits scheme will save patients hundreds of thousands of dollars.

From 1 December 2017, it will cost a maximum of $38.80 per treatment and just $6.30 for concessional patients.

It will be available to eligible patients with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) or small lymphocytic lymphoma (SLL).

Ibrutinib is used when CLL or SLL has progressed or has not responded to first line treatment with chemo-immuno-therapy.

It is significantly more effective than the treatments currently available through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

The Turnbull Government is guaranteeing Medicare and we’re continuing to make medicines available and affordable for Australians who need them.

Since coming into Government, the Coalition has helped improve the health of Australians by adding around $7.5 billion worth of medicines to the PBS.

More than 60 new cancer medicines or amended listings have been approved by the Coalition Government since October 2013. This includes new treatments for advanced pancreatic cancer, melanoma, advanced breast cancer, ovarian cancer and lung cancer.

We are now spending one in every six dollars of PBS expenditure on cancer medicines.

Turnbull Government to convene 5G working group

12 October 2017: Media Release - Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, Minister for Communications
The Turnbull Government today released a 5G directions paper  and will convene a working group to drive the deployment of 5G mobile  technology in Australia.

While Australians have already shown an insatiable appetite  for mobile technology using existing 3G and 4G networks, the significant technological  advances offered by 5G will provide new opportunities across a range of  sectors.

The Government's work will support the timely rollout of 5G  in Australia to enable the next wave of broad-based industry productivity and  to foster the growth of Australia's digital economy.

The commercial rollout of 5G mobile networks is expected to commence  in 2020. 5G will support improved connectivity, significantly faster data speeds,  and very low latency. These characteristics will enable 5G to underpin  substantial economic and social benefits across the economy.

This directions paper highlights that the Government will  support 5G rollout in Australia by:
  • making spectrum available in a timely  manner,
  • actively engaging in international  standardisation processes,
  • streamlining planning arrangements to  allow mobile carriers to deploy infrastructure more quickly and at lower cost,
  • and reviewing existing  telecommunications regulatory arrangements to ensure they are fit-for-purpose  in the 5G era.
5G will be a key enabler for a range of Government  priorities, including the Digital Economy Strategy, policy development for autonomous  vehicles, and the Smart Cities Plan. To improve alignment across portfolios,  the Department of Communications and the Arts will establish a working group that  will bring together representatives from across Government and industry.

This working group will provide a platform for an ongoing  strategic dialogue on 5G, and will work to ensure that sectoral regulatory  frameworks are updated to take advantage of 5G.

The directions paper is available at: www.communications.gov.au/5Gdirectionspaper.

600 construction jobs to be created as Lendlease selected to build Osborne South Shipyard

Joint Media Release
Senator the Hon. Mathias Cormann
Minister for Finance
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator for Western Australia

The Hon. Christopher Pyne MP
Minister for Defence Industry

12 October 2017
The Turnbull Government has announced that Lendlease has been selected as the managing contractor for the construction of the Osborne South Shipyard and has today revealed the project is anticipated to create 600 jobs at its peak.

Following a competitive tender process, Lendlease, in partnership with Australian Naval Infrastructure Pty Ltd, will be responsible for undertaking this nationally significant work. Lendlease has a proven track-record with large, high-profile construction projects and has recently delivered major projects in South Australia, including the Adelaide Oval and Convention Centre redevelopments.

Mobilisation works will commence in October 2017, with the completion of the new shipbuilding infrastructure ready to support the commencement of Future Frigate construction at the site in 2020. The construction of the shipyard is a key enabler of the Government’s continuous naval shipbuilding program.

Minister for Defence Industry the Hon Christopher Pyne MP said that South Australians were now seeing the tangible benefits of the Turnbull Government’s historic $90 billion naval shipbuilding program. 

“For the first time in over a decade we are seeing jobs created at Osborne, with up to 600 construction related jobs to be created on the Osborne South Shipyard project,” Minister Pyne said.

“The valley of death is over and we are now seeing a upturn of employment in naval shipbuilding in our state that will only continue to increase as these new projects gain momentum.”

Minister for Finance Senator the Hon Mathias Cormann said that the Government’s decisions to establish Australian Naval Infrastructure Pty Ltd and purchase land and facilities from the South Australian Government have enabled work to progress rapidly.

“Today’s announcement is the latest step in the Government’s plan to ensure that we develop world-leading shipbuilding facilities in South Australia that will enable our historic investments in naval shipbuilding to commence on schedule.

“Through Australian Naval Infrastructure Pty Ltd the Government is investing more than $500 million in naval infrastructure at Osborne that will support a sustainable, long-term naval shipbuilding industry in Australia.”

Disclaimer: These articles are not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.  Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Pittwater Online News or its staff.

Narrabri wins NSW Healthy Town Challenge

12 October 2017: NSW Health
Narrabri has won the NSW Healthy Town Challenge for 2017 earning a combined $20,000 in grants for its efforts to get locals to eat well, move more and sit less.

Member for Barwon Kevin Humphries joined Minister for Health Brad Hazzard in congratulating the town’s participants, who lost a combined weight of 260 kilos.

“With 13,000 residents, Narrabri is now famous not only for its cotton-growing but also for taking action to become the healthiest small town in NSW in 2017,” Mr Humphries said.

“I also want to congratulate the other towns that participated in the Challenge – Oberon, which was highly commended, Grenfell, Cowra and Coonabarabran.”

Supported by NSW Health and the Heart Foundation, the Challenge encourages regional communities with populations of between 1,000 and 15,000 to get active.

Based on an application process, five towns are selected and given an initial $15,000 grant to implement healthy initiatives, with the winning town receiving a further $5,000.

Narrabri introduced a Healthier Oils Program where local food outlets switched to healthier cooking oils; a walking program around Narrabri Lake and other initiatives including a weight loss coaching service to support locals in their weight loss efforts.

Mr Hazzard said all the initiatives were successful in helping the town’s 113 Challenge participants shed an average 2.3 kilograms to take out the 2017 title.

“I am advised prior to the Healthy Town Challenge, Narrabri had one of the highest levels of obesity in the entire New England North West,” Mr Hazzard said.

“To its credit, the community came together to do something about it and, in doing so, the people of Narrabri set a wonderful example to us all of the benefits of better looking after ourselves.”

Applications for the 2018 NSW Healthy Town Challenge open on 16 October 2017. Application forms will be available at http://www.preventivehealth.net.au/

Native Title Minister's Meeting

12 October 2017
Joint media release
Attorney General
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Senator the Hon. George Brandis QC
Minister for Indigenous Affairs
Senator the Hon. Nigel Scullion
On Friday 13 October 2017, we will chair the Native Title Ministers' meeting at Parliament House in Canberra where Commonwealth, state and territory ministers will meet to renew and reinvigorate discussions on collaborative pathways to improve the native title system.

This important meeting to consider significant native title reforms follows the Commonwealth's decisive action to restore certainty to the native title system, in partnership with the native title sector, in response to the McGlade decision.

In maintaining this momentum, the Commonwealth is progressing additional reforms to the Native Title Act, including in relation to section 31 agreements, to provide certainty to Indigenous and industry stakeholders and to continue to promote the effective and efficient resolution of native title claims.

A focus of discussions between ministers will be recommendations made by the Australian Law Reform Commission in its 2015 report, 'Connection to Country'.

Kevin Smith, board member of the National Native Title Council, the peak representative body of native title groups and Traditional Owners, will address ministers on the interests of Indigenous people and their land and land related matters.

While the Commonwealth has overall responsibility for the administration of the Native Title Act it is only party to a quarter of native title claims. As such, the Commonwealth will seek the commitment of its state and territory counterparts on these reforms and on emerging issues within the native title system. This inter-jurisdictional collaboration is necessary to provide certainty and practical outcomes for all parties.

The Commonwealth will also update states and territories on support that it is providing to native title holders including through capacity building funding for Prescribed Bodies Corporate under the Northern Australia White Paper, the first time funding has been made available directly for the benefit of native title holders.

The Commonwealth is committed to working in partnership with native title holders and other stakeholders to ensure that the native title system works for the benefit of all Australians.

Residency in Rome Now Open For Australian Visual Artists Through Mordant Family/Australia Council Fellowship 

11 October 2017  
The Australia Council is calling for Expressions of Interest from established Australian visual artists who wish to develop their practice through a residency at the American Academy in Rome.

Offered through the generous support of the Mordant Family, the Fellowship is open to visual artists with a significant track record of exhibitions in public institutions and galleries.

This prestigious Fellowship will allow the successful artist to spend two months in Rome as part of the American Academy’s Affiliated Fellowship Program. Established in 1894, the Academy is the oldest American overseas centre for independent study and advanced research in the arts and humanities. 

Australia Council CEO Tony Grybowski said the Fellowship was a wonderful opportunity for an Australian visual artist to develop their practice in a broader context and build invaluable international networks by working alongside artists and scholars from all over the world.

“The Australia Council is extremely grateful for the continued and generous support of Catriona and Simon Mordant AM which makes this possible. The Fellowship has been a great success in its inaugural year, demonstrating beautifully how co-investment can expand the opportunities available to Australian artists,” Mr Grybowski said.

"The Fellowship for an Australian visual artist at the American Academy in Rome is an extraordinary opportunity for an artist to immerse themselves with the best scholars from around the world to advance their practice. We were overjoyed by the quality of the applications for the inaugural Fellowship in 2017 and are excited to see the applications for the 2018 Fellow. We are delighted to be partnering with the Australia Council in creating this opportunity," Simon Mordant AM said.

Expressions of Interest are now open and will close on 21 November 2017. Applicants must outline their plan of activity whilst in Rome and how the residency will further their professional and artistic practice development.

Applicants are encouraged to review the criteria on the Australia Council’s website.

The 2017 Fellow and inaugural recipient is leading Australian photographer, video and installation artist Lynne Roberts-Goodwin. Ms Roberts-Goodwin is available for interviews.

The 2018 Mordant Family/Australia Council Fellow will be announced in late January.

Forum focused on issues confronting female veterans

October 10, 2017: The Hon Dan Tehan MP, Minister for Veterans' Affairs
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said the Government was listening to its female veterans and using their feedback to inform significant reform as he attended the second Female Veterans’ Policy Forum in Canberra today.

Establishing the Female Veterans’ Policy Forum was a Coalition election promise to ensure female veterans received the recognition they deserve and to better understand some of the specific challenges they face.

Mr Tehan said feedback from the first forum, held last year, was informing how the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA) used $166.6 million in funding to update its ICT systems and improve access to DVA services.

“Feedback from the first Female Veterans Forum led the Government to provide $8.5 million in this year’s budget to expand eligibility for the Veterans and Veterans Families Counselling Service to the partners and children of our contemporary veterans, who have had one day of full-time service,” Mr Tehan said.

“We also listened when our female veterans said the nature of their service was not well understood by the community.

“In the lead up to Anzac Day this year, we raised awareness about the important contribution female ADF personnel had made to our national defence and we will be supporting more initiatives in the future.

“It is encouraging to see members of the female veteran community, such as By the Left, encouraging female veterans to march in larger numbers on ANZAC Day 2018.”

Attendees at the forum participated in sessions including targeting the health needs of female veterans and providing support for domestic violence.

Appointments of new Chief Justice of the Family Court and Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court

10 October 2017: Media release - Attorney-General for Australia, Senator the Hon George Brandis QC
I announce today the appointment of the new Chief Justice of the Family Court and the new Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court.

Chief Justice of the Family Court
The new Chief Justice of the Family Court will be the Honourable John Pascoe AC CVO, the current Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court.

With Chief Judge Pascoe's elevation, Mr William Alstergren QC will become the new Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court. Mr Alstergren is the current President of the Australian Bar Association.

Chief Judge Pascoe has served as the Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia since 2004. He will bring to the Family Court a wealth of experience, as the head of jurisdiction of the Commonwealth's busiest trial court which is also the court which deals with most family law matters. The Federal Circuit Court is the largest Commonwealth Court, with a current complement of 67 judges. It deals with more than 85% per cent of all federal family law matters.

His eminent service to the law and to the judiciary was recognised by his appointment as a Companion of the Order of Australia in January 2016.

Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia
With the appointment of Chief Judge Pascoe as Chief Justice of the Family Court, Mr William Alstergren QC will become the next Chief Judge of the Federal Circuit Court.

Mr Alstergren has practised as a barrister in Melbourne since 1991, and took silk in 2012. His principal areas of practice have included commercial law, tax law, industrial law and family law.

As well as being the current President of the Australian Bar Association, he is a former Chairman of the Victorian Bar. He will bring to the Commonwealth's busiest trial court formidable leadership, legal and administrative skills.

Mr Alstergren has also been issued a joint commission as a Justice of the Family Court of Australia.

Both appointments will commence on 13 October 2017.

On behalf of the Government, I congratulate both Chief Judge Pascoe and Mr Alstergren on their appointments.

I also take the opportunity to express my gratitude to the retiring Chief Justice of the Family Court, the Honourable Diana Bryant AO, for her lifelong service to the law, as solicitor, barrister, senior counsel, Chief Federal Magistrate and Chief Justice of the Family Court.

Current Office
Chief Judge, Federal Circuit Court of Australia
Previous Office
Australian representative to the Hague Conference on Private International Law Experts' Group on Parentage

Bachelor of Laws (Honours), Australian National University
Bachelor of Arts Australian National University

Current Office
Queens Counsel, Victorian Bar
President, Australian Bar Association
Previous Office
Past Chairman, Victorian Bar

Masters of Laws, Melbourne University
Bachelor of Laws, Melbourne University
Bachelor of Arts, Melbourne University

ASIC's client money reporting rules finalised

Tuesday 10 October 2017: Media Release - ASIC
ASIC has released the finalised ASIC Client Money Reporting Rules 2017 (client money rules) which, from 4 April 2018, will impose record-keeping, reconciliation and reporting obligations on Australian financial services (AFS) licensees that hold 'derivative retail client money' within the meaning of the Corporations Act, unless the client money relates to a derivative that is traded on a fully licensed domestic market, such as ASX 24.

ASIC Commissioner Cathie Armour said, 'The client money rules will ensure greater transparency in relation to an AFS licensee's receipt and use of derivative retail client money. They will apply more formal and consistent standards across the derivatives sector and will ensure any discrepancies in an AFS licensee's client money account are notified to ASIC in a timely manner and enable ASIC to take appropriate action.'

The final client money rules incorporate some changes in response to industry consultation and feedback on Consultation Paper 291 Reporting rules: Derivative retail client money (CP 291), issued in July 2017 (refer: 17-231MR). 

'ASIC has carefully considered stakeholder feedback arising from CP 291 and has made some changes to address the issues raised.  In particular, the changes to the timing of the reconciliation requirements will provide licensees with greater flexibility and make the client money rules easier to comply with',  Ms Armour said.

ASIC's response to the submissions it received during the consultation is detailed in Report 546 Response to submissions on CP 291 Reporting rules: Derivative retail client money (REP 546).

ASIC has also today released Information Sheet 226 Complying with the ASIC Client Money Reporting Rules 2017 (INFO 226) to assist AFS licensees comply with their obligations under the client money rules.

The release of the client money rules follows the passage of Treasury Laws Amendment (2016 Measures No. 1) Bill 2016 and the Corporations Amendment (Client Money) Regulations 2017. These reforms will prevent AFS licensees from withdrawing client money provided by retail derivative clients, and using it for the wide range of purposes currently permitted under theCorporations Act, including as the AFS licensee's own working capital.

The client money rules will commence on 4 April 2018, at the same time the other client money reforms take effect.  This gives AFS licensees a six month transition period to ensure they have the necessary systems, policies and procedures for complying with the client money rules.

The release of the client money rules and guidance follows public consultation in July 2017 (see 17-231MR).

NSW Government introduces nation-first Aboriginal Languages Bill

11th October, 2017
NSW has become the first state in the country to introduce legislation to Parliament to acknowledge the unique value and importance of language to our First Peoples and to the State.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was proud the NSW Government today introduced the landmark bill, in the presence of Aboriginal Elders and community representatives, which recognises the significance of NSW’s first languages and will protect and revive them for future generations.

“Today is an historic day. This legislation will acknowledge the importance of Aboriginal languages for years to come,” Ms Berejiklian said.

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Sarah Mitchell said the NSW Government had worked alongside language experts and Aboriginal communities, including at 32 meetings and workshops around NSW, to develop the Bill.

“It was crucial to get a diverse range of opinions and input from all over the state to ensure the legislation was as sturdy as possible,” Ms Mitchell said.

“The Bill was introduced in the Upper House today in the presence of Aboriginal Elders and community representatives with a moving message stick ceremony – symbolic of Aboriginal people’s custodianship of language.”

The Legislation includes the establishment of an independent trust made up of Aboriginal community leaders, who will oversee the development a strategic plan to protect and strengthen Aboriginal languages through programs, partnerships and funding.

Winter crop production forecasts to be downgraded

12 October 2017:ABARES
Unfavourable seasonal conditions in key cropping regions since the release of the September 2017 edition of Australian crop report mean that ABARES is likely to downgrade its forecast of 2017–18 winter crop production in the December edition of the report.

ABARES Executive Director, Dr Steve Hatfield-Dodds, said that ABARES had noted the September forecast for winter crop production would only be achieved if spring rainfall was sufficient and timely, especially in central west New South Wales and the Eyre Peninsula and Yorke Peninsula in South Australia.

“Unfortunately, in New South Wales, crop conditions in the central west have deteriorated significantly and yields are likely to be well below our September forecast,” Dr Hatfield-Dodds said.

“In South Australia, at this point ABARES does not envisage significant changes from the September 2017 forecast for winter crop production.

“Overall, we expect the December 2017 forecast for Australia’s winter crop production in Australia will be lower than the September 2017 forecast, but likely still around the 10 y​ear average to 2015–16.”

The December edition of Australian crop report will be released on 5 December 2017.