Van Dairy has appointed a national agriculture consultant to help address regulatory concerns over its effluent management processes after a damning audit report was leaked last week.
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CONSULTANT APPOINTED: Van Dairy has appointed a national agriculture consultant to help address regulatory concerns over its effluent management processes.

Wolfie Wagner who has 30 years’ experience in Australian pasture-based dairy farm operations has been appointed by the company to “assist in addressing regulatory requirements and develop a business plan that directs operational reform and performance.”

In a statement, Mr Wagner acknowledged Van Dairy, formerly Moon Lake, faced some challenges.

“However I had the privilege this week of visiting several dairy farms belonging to the Van Dairy group and it was satisfying to not witness any direct breaches of environmental or animal welfare industry standards,” he said.

“The first steps in working with Van Dairy will be to gather sufficient information to create a working business plan that will provide a platform for operational reform for the business.”

Van Dairy, which owns and operates the Van Diemens Land group of farms has come under fire after the leaked audit report found significant breaches of the Effluent Management Code.

The Tasmanian Dairy Industry Authority, the Environment Protection Agency and the Circular Head Council are all collaborating on an investigation into the effluent and animal welfare concerns.

The investigation has prompted Tasmanian Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson to call for federal government intervention, on whether the company has met its obligations under the Foreign Investment Review Board’s condition of sale.

It has also been described by former chief executives of the company as “complete regulatory failure” by authorities.

The Van Dairy statement said the company was committed to running a responsible, world-class dairy business and was pleased to have appointed Mr Wagner to help it move forward.

It also said Van Dairy continued to work responsibly with regulators and partners around issues when they were raised and ensure corrective actions were implemented within expected time frames.

THE Dairy Industry Code of Conduct has brought about a “significant culture change” within the dairy sector and helped increase competition at the farmgate, according to Australian Competition & Consumer Commission deputy chair Mick Keogh.

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