AMIC chief executive Patrick Hutchinson was one of the keynote speakers at the annual Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC) breakfast, in Melbourne.
“That’s what we have got to start to get to, to ensure when we are going to Canberra, we are talking as one,” Mr Hutchinson said. “We want to work with other industries.
“The AMIC is now going to look for an opportunity to work with dairy manufacturers, sugar cane manufacturers, grain manufacturers, cotton manufacturers and fruit processors.”
He cited the “burning platform issues” as energy, labor, the regulatory burden and infrastructure.
“What we are looking at, effectively, is the ability for us to turn around and say, how can we all help each other?
Food manufacturers and processors had a great responsibility to regional and rural Australia.
“If we look at Australian Lamb Company, in Colac, six hundred people work there, you can understand how much impact that industry has on that town,” Mr Hutchinson said.
“We have just seen their energy bill has gone up by a million dollars a year, as a perfect example.”
AMIC was also keen to work more closely with farmers.
“Five years ago, a lot of producers would have said ‘get stuffed,” he said.
But key issues, affecting the processing sector, flowed right through the supply chain.
“We are starting to tell the story of farmers’ sons and farmers’ daughters who are working in those places.
“It’s not just a fact of ‘oh well, I can’t kill my lambs at Cootamundra, I’ll move to Cowra’, it’s about my son was working there, and now he doesn’t have a job.
“We are getting past this issue, of ‘you versus me’.”
Mr Hutchinson said there needed to be a greater sharing of information, within the red meat industry.
“It’s about processor, feedlotter, producer all sitting together, all sitting as one, with the same energy, it’s not about one voice, it’s about one message,” Mr Hutchinson said.
“Farmers don’t share everything with us, and vice versa – what we’ve got to do is share quality, not quantity, so we can improve those areas in our supply chain.”
That would include value based marketing, paying on quality attributes, rather than weight and talking about research and development, as well as supply chain sustainability.
“There is no point in having large processing plants, if there is nothing going in,
“Success for one, is success for all,” Mr Hutchinson said.