Competition from imported products and shrinking supply are two key challenges facing Australia’s dairy industry according to a new report.
The Australian Dairy Situation Analysis report has been compiled by partner organisations involved in developing a new industry-wide plan.
The five-year strategy, the Australian Dairy Plan, will map out the industry’s key priorities.
As part of the plan development, 20 consultation meetings with dairy farmers and industry stakeholders will be held across the country over the next few weeks, including two in Tasmania.
Australian Dairy Plan chairman John Brumby said the report provided a snapshot of the current state of Australia’s dairy industry.
“While flagging many positive factors that point toward a positive future, the report also provides an honest assessment of challenges that we hope will be addressed during the course of the consultations,” he said.
“Market volatility, challenging conditions on farm and a breakdown in trust between farmers and processors have taken a toll on where the industry stood a decade ago. It is vital that all sides now pull together to agree a road map of priorities and actions.”
Mr Brumby said the industry faced some of its biggest and most complex challenges.
“If we are to write the next chapter of dairy’s story, we not only need to be honest about the issues we face, but also open to taking difficult decisions and supporting radical change if required,” he said.
The report says global competitors have caught up with Australia and are moving ahead in international markets.
While Australia is still a major global dairy exporter the report says the industry’s relevance on global markets is being questioned because of its shrinking scale and competitiveness.
Farmers are also feeling the pinch as milk prices fail to keep ahead of the rising cost of production in some regions.
The report says strong imports mean domestic producers are increasingly competing with the international market.
A widespread shortage of skilled labour at all levels in the dairy industry is listed as another challenge.
The report says that keeping skills and knowledge in the industry, and encouraging farm succession is an increasing and critical challenge.
The Tasmanian meetings for the Australian Dairy Plan will be on June 12 at Smithton from 6.30pm to 9.30pm and on June 13 at Deloraine from 10.30am to 2.30pm.
For more details go to www.dairyplan.com.au.