Instead, Australian Dairy Plan partner organisations will explore opportunities to boost dairy farmer representation, increase transparency around research, development and extension (RD&E) priority setting, and involve processing companies in industry-wide initiatives.
Dairy Australia chair James Mann conceded the proposal to create a single, whole of industry body was always considered to be “ambitious”.
“After extensive consultation, it is clear that restrictions prevent the use of levies for agri-political activity and that an all-in-one industry model is unable to address the priority of a stronger and more unified industry voice, as it cannot accommodate the requirement for independent representation,” he said.
“It would also compromise government investment in RD&E. Other models that combine advocacy with levy-funded industry services cannot progress at this time for the same reasons.”
Going forward, the three reform partner organisations — Australian Dairy Farmers, Australian Dairy Products Federation and Dairy Australia — have been given primary responsibility for driving through different aspects of the reform sought by people across the industry.
Under future plans, Australian Dairy Farmers will lead a working group comprising the six state dairy farming organisations to consider how to optimise policy and advocacy development at a national and state level, together with funding arrangements.
Dairy Australia will commit to greater resourcing for strategic policy development and enhanced transparency for RD&E priority setting, while Australian Dairy Products Federation has committed to facilitating and promoting opportunities for collaboration and co-investment by processors on whole-of-supply-chain interests.
Australian Dairy Farmers president Terry Richardson said organisational reform was an industry priority to deliver a more profitable, confident and united industry.
“Reform aims to deliver a stronger and more unified industry voice with an ability to champion common issues, as well as represent diverse views across the dairy supply chain,” he said.
Australian Dairy Products Federation president Grant Crothers said the reform process identified a need for a ‘whole of industry’ voice that could represent issues common to both dairy farmers and processors.