Questions and Answers

The questions and answers below provide further information on the progress of the Australian Dairy Plan to date.

The Australian Dairy Plan Terms of Reference also provide clarity on the purpose and scope of the Plan and its development.

  • Copy Link JTT report Frequently Asked Questions

    The JTT Australian Dairy Plan report was released on Wednesday 29 January 2020. Read the Q&A document for a list of commonly asked questions.

  • Copy Link What is the Australian Dairy Plan?

    The Australian Dairy Plan will bring the whole Australian dairy industry together, establish a clear vision, purpose and strategy, and set a course for the next five years and beyond.

    The development of the plan will involve a consultation program to seek the views of farmers and dairy communities across Australia to define priorities and help establish a national roadmap of how the industry will best navigate the immediate, medium and long-term future.

    While the final document will not set detailed targets, it will be specific enough to rigorously and regularly measure performance against the agreed upon goals, to actively demonstrate progress.

    Read more about the plan’s Terms of Reference.

  • Copy Link Why do we need a whole-of-industry plan?

    The Australian dairy industry has been challenged with rising costs of production, retail price stagnation, tough seasons and changing global markets. A plan that sets the agenda for the industry on a national scale, will provide further direction and a clear focus to help ensure dairy remains competitive and successful.

    There are great examples of how a national plan that is widely adopted can transform an industry.

    Recent examples include plans that have led to successful expansion of the Irish dairy industry and the Australian cotton industry, or helped guide industry leadership in times of unification, such as for the New Zealand dairy industry.

  • Copy Link Who’s leading the development of the plan?

    The Dairy Plan is supported and endorsed by the Australian Dairy Industry Council, Dairy Australia, Australian Dairy Farmers, Australian Dairy Products Federation, the Gardiner Foundation.

    However, the collective contribution of farmers and people connected with the industry to developing a national plan will be key to its success.

  • Copy Link What is John Brumby’s role and why was he selected?

    Mr Brumby’s role is to provide independent oversight of the Australian Dairy Plan process. He is chairing regular meetings of the partner organisations and is overseeing the development of the plan and key documents and meeting with key stakeholder groups. An important part of his contribution is to help the partner organisations find consensus and build a clear set of priorities and actions. As an external party to the dairy industry, he brings an impartial perspective that will be useful in testing existing assumptions and future priorities.

    His extensive experience in public life, regional development and agriculture will bring considerable expertise to the development of the plan. He has a track record in working with complex issues and enabling different organisations to work together to overcome challenges and achieve common goals. The partner organisations believe Mr Brumby is ideally qualified for the important position of Independent Chair and we are delighted he accepted the role when approached. Having a well briefed, committed and passionate Chair to facilitate and assist in discussions will only enhance the chance of success.

    Read more about John Brumby’s appointment and bio.

  • Copy Link How will the Australian Dairy Plan be used?

    One of the most powerful ways in which the Australian Dairy Plan will take effect is through the way it guides the development of key industry documents, such as the ADIC Vision, Dairy Australia’s Strategic Plan, the Gardiner Dairy Foundation Strategic Plan, the ADF Strategic Plan, the ADPF strategic direction and the Dairy Moving Forward Strategic Plan. Alignment of these documents with an overarching industry strategy, demonstrates unification and clarity of direction when engaging with government and other key stakeholders.

  • Copy Link Where did the regional workshops take place?

    Over 1,500 farmers, service providers, processors, retailers, investors and other key stakeholders, participated in over 20 consultation workshops across dairying regions during May and June 2019.

    See a list of the locations where regional workshops were held and summaries of these meetings.

  • Copy Link What was the purpose of the National Workshop and who attended?

    The Australian Dairy Plan (ADP) National Workshop was a national forum on 30-31 July 2019 that brought together a representative group of 130 key stakeholders from across the country to review stakeholders views from regional workshops and other consultation meetings, draft the key priorities, and develop the proposed approach to address these priorities.

    Attendance was by invitation so that it included representation from all parts of the industry including farmers, processors, government/regulators, peak bodies, industry experts and service providers.

    The objectives of the National Workshop were:

    • Understanding the opportunities for the dairy industry
    • Responding to the ‘key challenges’ for the dairy industry (identified through stakeholder engagements)
    • Clarifying the ‘breadth’ of the ADP
    • Confirming the key elements of the ADP
    • Testing propositions for how best to structure the industry to deliver the ADP
    • Confirming the next steps for completing the ADP.

  • Copy Link What is the Joint Transition Team and how were its members selected?

    Industry structure and advocacy emerged as one of the key topics at the Australian Dairy Plan workshops. That is why a dedicated taskforce (JTT - Joint Transition Team) was established to examine existing dairy industry arrangements and recommend transformational change options to reform industry structures.

    The JTT reports to the Australian Dairy Plan Committee comprising the Chairs of the four partner organisations and John Brumby as Independent Chair. Appointments to the JTT were based on experience in leadership, business, strategic transformation and the dairy supply chain. Membership reflects diversity in gender and experience. The Committee considered nominations made at the National Workshop and also considered others who expressed interest in joining the JTT via the application process.


  • Copy Link What are the timelines for developing the Australian Dairy Plan?

    A draft of the Australian Dairy Plan was published on 6 December 2019 and consultation on this document closed on 2 March 2020. Finalisation of the plan has been slightly delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions, however we remain committed to its delivery in order to start rolling out some key initiatives from 1 July 2020, with preliminary work already underway in some areas.  

  • Copy Link How will this plan align with the Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework?

    The Dairy Plan is an all-encompassing strategy and key industry initiatives, such as the Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework, will be embedded within it. The intention of the Australian Dairy Plan is not to reinvent the wheel and the Sustainability Framework is a great example of how the industry as a whole is already addressing challenges in a changing world.

  • Copy Link What is the cost of the Australian Dairy Plan?

    The forecast spend on the Dairy Plan was $900,000, including nationwide consultation and workshops, production of reports, independent chair and an allocation of $140,000 for an Independent Chair and secretariat. This budget was projected through to delivery of the draft plan in December and total costs will be determined post the finalisation of the plan.

  • Copy Link Are levy funds being used to develop the plan?

    Funding will come from multiple sources to develop the Australian Dairy Plan. This includes levy funds from Dairy Australia, as well as financial input from ADF, ADPF, Gardiner Dairy Foundation.

  • Copy Link Why has the launch date for the Dairy Plan been extended into 2020?

    As the plan was developed, the Australian Dairy Plan Committee agreed there was benefit in providing stakeholders with an opportunity to provide further feedback. This feedback was not originally in scope which has contributed to an extension in timeframes.

    This final round of feedback will ensure the Dairy Plan meets the needs of industry and incorporates a wide range of ideas that will drive the industry to success.

  • Copy Link What is the process for providing feedback on the draft Dairy Plan?

    The consultation period for the draft Australian Dairy Plan closed on 2 March 2020.

  • Copy Link Will John Brumby continue as Independent Chair until the finalised Dairy Plan is delivered?

    John Brumby is expected to continue as the Independent Chair until the launch of the Australian Dairy Plan.  


  • Copy Link Will Nous continue to support the development of the Dairy Plan until it is finalised?

    Nous finished their role following the launch of the draft Dairy Plan. Details relating to the additional use of partners will be provided in early 2020.

  • Copy Link What is the background to the growth forecasts in the draft Dairy Plan?

    We have undertaken comprehensive modelling of the scope for the Australian dairy industry to grow – this is available in Appendix A: Growth Scenarios Paper of the draft Dairy Plan. This modelling shows is that to arrest and turnaround the effects of the current ‘drift and decline’ in milk production, we need to lay the foundations for industry growth.

    We know that domestic and international demand for Australian dairy are both strong. The modelling showed that with successful delivery of all of the commitments and a shift towards a positive, attractive industry culture, the most realistic growth scenario that we can achieve is that of a moderate, or medium growth rates.

    We know there are a lot of constraints that are outside of the direct control of the industry and impact its ability to grow e.g. land availability, water, feed and energy pricing and capital constraints. If we are to see the dairy industry return to a higher growth scenario, we need government intervention to reduce and remove these constraints and lead to accelerated growth.


  • Copy Link How can the initiatives outlined in the draft Dairy Plan deliver the transformational change that farmers are looking for?

    The draft Dairy Plan contains a series of commitments and supporting specific initiatives which will be further developed in the final Dairy Plan. Each of these commitments will be then continue to be built out in more detail over the coming months, as each of the partner organisations cascade the Dairy Plan into their individual organisational strategies and take responsibility for delivery of discrete initiatives in the Dairy Plan. Additional information about implementation and the Partner’s approach to creating meaningful change is outlined in Q14 and Q15.


  • Copy Link What does the Draft Dairy Plan say about farm costs?

    In the draft Dairy Plan, Key Directions Statement and Situation Analysis, there has been a strong recognition of the impact of rising farm costs (including water, energy, feed) on farm profitability.

    Some costs can be affected by farmers. For example, improving on-farm efficiency can be addressed through initiatives that involve implementing effective business plans. However, other costs are outside of the control of farmers. These are matters for discussion with Government, and the Dairy Plan provides a framework for a unified and strategic approach to collaborating with Government on initiatives to stimulate industry growth, reduce costs and remove barriers, in line with the Federal Governments 2030 goal of $100 billion in farmgate agriculture output.

    The draft Dairy Plan acknowledges the important role of Government to help farm businesses manage risk. For example, the Future Drought Fund proposes an annual investment of $100 million to increase the resilience of Australian farm businesses and communities. A key part of this is helping farmers manage the commercial risks associated with agriculture through good business management planning and sound decision-making.

    Additional details are included in section 4. Focusing on the Fundamentals of the draft Dairy Plan.


  • Copy Link What can you say to farmers that will reassure them that this won’t be another report that gathers dust on people’s bookshelves?

    The nature of this plan is different due to:

    • The commitment and collaboration by the four dairy industry organisations. This is the first time that the partner organisations have come together to collaboratively to develop a single plan that contains one set of national priorities. The partner organisations have also committed to cascading the Dairy Plan into their own individual organisational plans.
    • The level of engagement and consultation with industry has been unprecedented and sets us up for success
    • There has been a strong focus on building and sustaining a positive and attractive industry culture as a critical element of the Dairy Plan.


  • Copy Link How will the final report be launched and implemented?

    Details about the launch and implementation are outlined in Section 7: Finalising the Plan of the draft Australian Dairy Plan.

    The final plan will include specific milestones and targets that will provide for accountability for the implementation of the plan and monitoring progress. The implementation of the plan will commence by 1 July 2020.

    Under existing industry structures, the partner organisations commit to retaining an ADP Committee to establish and oversee a governance framework for the delivery, monitoring and reporting to the industry on the progress of the ADP. The final ADP will contain more details of this framework. When the industry agrees upon and implements a new industry structure, it is expected that the role of the ADP Committee will be taken over by the new structure.

    There is a strong desire to drive change through the plan and it is important to understand how implementation decisions will need to be made under the existing industry structures and the challenges this may present. Although the industry partner organisations are committed to the development and implementation of a single national dairy industry strategic plan, there is currently no single governing body with the authority to make decisions for the Dairy Plan. Each ADP partner organisation has their own decision processes that are defined by the governance arrangements of their organisation that include the roles and responsibilities for the Members and Boards as defined in the Constitution. Each partner organization must use these processes in making decisions on investments and structural changes.

    In order to execute the initiatives, the Dairy Plan will be used to guide the Strategic Plans of the four industry partner organisations. The partner organisations will collaboratively decide how the plan can be best achieved and drive their individual plans and activities accordingly.

    The Joint Transition Team’s (JTT) recommendations on reform of industry structures and advocacy arrangements were published in a report on 29 January 2020. Following a period of industry consultation there is expected to be a vote on the proposal by the end of the year.