Australian Dairy Plan National Workshop confirms key themes

More than 130 delegates representing all Australian states and elements of the supply chain in the dairy industry – farmers, processors, regulators, retailers, government, peak bodies, industry experts and service providers – met over two days in Melbourne on 30-31 July to frame the key elements of the Australian Dairy Plan (ADP).

The two-day workshop follows 25 regional consultations across Australia attended by more than 1,000 people. The workshop was opened by the Independent Chair, The Hon. John Brumby, who highlighted the importance of the industry working together to develop a plan to restore profitability, boost confidence and lift the performance of the industry as a whole.

Workshop representatives agreed key themes for the ADP including:

  • Transformational change to reform industry structures and strengthen advocacy to be more effective, united and efficient

  • New measures to increase transparency and help manage market risk including the establishment of a functioning milk price market and new risk measures backed by government legislation

  • A significant increase in marketing and promotion to ensure the community values dairy products, the dairy industry and dairy farmers

  • Increased effort and new initiatives to attract and support the next generation of farmers

  • A heightened focus on building farmer capability and increasing and stabilising margins on farms through measures to improve productivity and improve farm costs.

A wide range of other important issues including climate change, social license and animal welfare, on-farm productivity, research and development, and skills development were also discussed and will form part of the plan.

John Brumby said there was a real appetite for change across the industry and a recognition that business as usual wouldn’t do the job.

“The industry has been declining in size and is at a critical tipping point. Bold new measures are necessary to take the industry forward”, he said.

Mr. Brumby said that despite the very real challenges of recent years, there was a degree of optimism about what the industry could achieve by getting the plan right and working together.

Workshop delegates welcomed the Prime Minister’s commitment to the $100 billion farm production target by 2030 and agreed that the ADP should position dairy to be a big part of that vision.

Following the clear guidance provided by the workshop, the peak industry groups will now work to put the detail of the plan together with a final draft to be developed by October 2019.

A six-person Joint Transition Team (JTT) will also be established to develop new options for the restructure of industry and advocacy arrangements. The JTT will aim to produce a draft report by 2 October, which will be released publicly for further comment and discussion.

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