Detailed discussion at a Federal Government dairy symposium this week has seen an injection of confidence into the Australia’s dairy industry as the nation continues to seek a solution to the ongoing dairy crisis.
The symposium, which was chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce, was attended by over 60 farmer organisations, processors, retailers and government representatives, three of whom were from Western Australia – WAFarmers Chief Executive Officer Stephen Brown, WAFarmers Dairy Council President Michael Partridge, and Nola Marino MP, Member for Forrest.
The symposium focused on the situation and outlook for the Australian dairy industry and supply chain, milk contracts, risk, transparency and industry confidence, and was pinnacled by an announcement from Mr Joyce that more power would be given to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for their recently-announced inquiry into the dairy industry.
“While the focus was predominantly on the world milk price and the Murray-Goulburn and Fonterra contracts in south-eastern Australia, we were pleased to have been given the opportunity to present on issues currently facing the Western Australian dairy industry on a national platform,” Mr Partridge said.
“The national implications of farmers having contracts dropped were resonated nationally, as did the wider national implications of the decisions being made in WA.
“While the issues facing the Western Australian dairy industry are, currently, significantly different from those in the eastern states, we were encouraged by the commitment demonstrated by attendees to find a solution to the current dairy situation, and to safeguard the livelihoods of Australia’s dairy farmers and their families.
“While time will tell what the outcomes are, we believe that the symposium was a very worthwhile exercise for the industry and gave attendees an ideal space in which to voice their concerns, fears, and hopes for the future.
“We’re very confident that the Minister understands our specific problems and we will continue to work with him, State Government and industry to resolve the short- and medium-term issues.”
Mr Partridge said WAFarmers welcomed Mr Joyce’s announcement of a stronger inquiry into the dairy industry by the ACCC, and looked forward to presenting state-based issues.
All media requests must be directed to WAFarmers Media and Communications Officer Melanie Dunn on (08) 9486 2100 or [email protected].