New dairy lobby group eastAUSmilk has outlined its priorities, with an emphasis on fresh milk producers.
The organisations board of directors held its first meeting last week.
This provided an opportunity for the new group, representing eastern seaboard dairy producers from the southern border of NSW to the tip of Queensland, to meet to discuss issues challenging the industry.
President Matt Trace said the opportunities arising from the merger of Queensland Dairyfarmers' Organisation and the Dairy Connect Farmers Group were profound.
"They represent a strong platform from which to represent dairy producers with a unity of purpose before government, retailers, processors and industry stakeholders," he said.
"The inaugural eastAUSmilk board meeting illustrated that we had far more in common than what a 'false border' represents across agriculture generally and dairy specifically.
"Fresh milk producers face many common issues and we will be putting forward strong policy positions on issues including 'truth in labelling'; standardised milk sampling, testing and calibration of equipment; environmental and climate sustainability and enhancing the industry mandatory code of conduct.
"All of which will lead to eastAUSmilk seeking strong farmgate prices to ensure a viable dairy industry now and into the future."
Advocacy and lobbying will play a vital part of achieving positive and pro-active policy outcomes in those areas of concern to dairy farmers.
eastAUSmilk co-CEO Shaughn Morgan said the Federal election next year would provide an opportunity to seek commitments from the government, opposition and independent senators to commit to the recommendations of recent Senate and State Parliamentary Committee Inquiries.
"The Australian industry continues to confront issues that date back to dairy deregulation and now is the time to prepare for the future growth of the industry generally," he said
"The NSW Government and Opposition accepted the recommendation from the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the sustainability of the State's dairy industry in 2018 for the establishment of a NSW Dairy Advocate, a similar commitment federally to the establishment of a Federal Dairy Advocate, with statutory powers and an independent office to oversee the industry, with Australian Competition and Consumer Commission support and guidance, would send a strong message of political will for future dairy growth and sustainability.
"The commissioner would be a 'one stop shop' for the industry and would be an advocate with government as well as safeguarding the welfare of the dairy industry in conjunction with the mandatory dairy code."
The board also acknowledged the commitment, drive and passion that the former QDO president Brian Tessmann had provided to the dairy industry.
Mr Trace said Mr Tessmann's leadership assisted in the creation of eastAUSmilk and "was the catalyst that brought fresh milk producers together to be united and to grow the business of dairy".
"Together, we will move toward a collaborative dairy farmer cohort cooperating collectively for the good of the dairy industry generally."
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