I am pleased to advise members that the board of QDO met with representatives of the board and farmers’ group of Dairy Connect in Brisbane on June 1. The outcome of the meeting was that both organisations have agreed to continue discussions about joining forces so as to better represent the needs of dairy farmers in NSW and Queensland and to be more effective in our advocacy work.
This step is our response to what we have heard in consultations with farmers: that you are looking for stronger, more effective representation.
While NSW Farmers Dairy Committee was engaged in initial discussions, they have decided not to continue their participation at this time.
We hope to demonstrate that when industry leaders act together in the best interests of dairy farmers, more of the farmers in our regions will re-engage in industry issues and we will become more representative of farmer needs and views.
A management committee made up of representatives of both organisations has been formed to lead the discussions. The committee is currently chaired by Matthew Trace, and earlier this year, Jo Davey of Pirrama Consulting was appointed to facilitate the process.
Consultation and next steps
There is still a lot of work to be done in the merger process. We have agreed a staged process for the merger discussions and we will keep you informed each step along the way.
The joint meeting examined models for how the new body would operate and what will be its priorities and key functions over the next three to five years. It will be important to establish how the new body will interact with key industry stakeholders at the national and state levels and we will be working to formalise our relationships with them.
The most important step will be to gain the support of our existing members for the change. You will have the opportunity to share your views with us as we move through the process. We will consult you about the design and structure of the new body and how you will be represented.
Ultimately, it is you, our members, who will have the final say. After the consultation period, which is scheduled to occur in July, we anticipate that a proposal will be put to members at our AGM this year. With your support, we hope to have the new body in place by the end of 2021. Remembering that our aim is to achieve the best outcome for all concerned, this timeframe may change depending on what speedbumps we encounter on the way.
Dairy farmers and any other interested persons are invited to have their say by contacting our office or your local QDO board member.