‘Bold new measures necessary’

By Country News

More than 130 delegates representing all Australian states and elements of the supply chain in the dairy industry met in Melbourne on July 30 and 31 to frame the key elements of the Australian Dairy Plan.

The two-day workshop follows 25 regional consultations across Australia attended by more than 1000 people.

The workshop was opened by independent chair 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 dairy plan included:

■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.

Mr Brumby said there was a real appetite for change across the industry and a recognition that business as usual would not do the job.

‘‘The industry has been declining in size and is at a critical tipping point,’’ he said.

‘‘Bold new measures are necessary to take the industry forward.’’