NSW Parliamentary Upper House dairy inquiry welcome – Dairy Connect

Advocacy group Dairy Connect has welcomed the release of terms of reference for a wide-ranging NSW Upper House review of the State’s dairy industry.

The review will be heard by the NSW Parliamentary Legislative Council Portfolio Committee No 5, which is chaired by NSW Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party MP, Robert Brown, with the support of the Government, Opposition and Cross Bench members.

Dairy Connect CEO Shaughn Morgan said the NSW industry had unique challenges arising from the fact it was a ‘fresh milk state’ with little large-scale production of cheeses and other dairy products by comparison with southern States.

“The terms of reference for the inquiry include reviewing and reporting on the long term sustainability of the dairy industry in NSW,” Shaughn said.

“I would expect that the new inquiry will review the role of all components within the NSW dairy industry as well as the commercial relationships within the dairy value chain, including current pricing structures.

“In NSW, we have our own issues.

“Questions for inquiry could include: Are farm-gate prices paid by processors to producers fair? Should the Government consider re-establishing a revamped NSW Milk Marketing Board, with strong powers of persuasion and under the oversight of a NSW Commissioner for Dairy?

“Relationships between supermarkets, processors and dairy farms could also be examined given the recent inquiry by the ACCC found dairy farmers were wedged firmly at the bottom of the supply chain unable to recoup lost value.

“Then, there are the real-time challenges of escalating energy and water costs that are impacting severely on dairy producers as well as the need for a strong commitment to enhanced dairy research and education within the State.

Terms of reference for the review include inquiring into the nature and relationships along the value chain with a focus on farm gate prices compared with retail prices.

The review would also assess the impact of external forces on the NSW industry including drought, water and energy costs.

The impact of past actions including the de-regulation of the national dairy industry in 2000 is also part of the terms of reference for the inquiry.

Dairy Connect is looking forward to assisting the NSW Legislative Council Committee with its inquiry into the NSW dairy industry.

The full terms of reference document is available for download here.