National dairy will miss Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce

The national dairy industry has lost a friend and strong Government ally with the departure from the front bench today of Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.

Dairy Connect CEO Shaughn Morgan said the minister had brought to the role an in-depth understanding of the economics and the culture of dairying.

“For an advocacy group like us, Barnaby’s insights and skills were incredibly valuable assets allowing us to cut through the background noise and get right to the point with a roadmap for actions and improvements across industry,” he said.

“So as this former industry champion steps back, Dairy Connect thanks him for the on-going initiatives he brought to dairy industry reform during his time in the chair.”

Dairy Connect met with the then Minister for Agriculture in Tamworth in 2016 and canvassed with him the coalition government’s $579 million rescue package.

The package was announced after Murray Goulburn and Fonterra had slashed prices paid to milk producers and had begun to retrospectively clawback earlier contract payments to those producers.

“The Minister said at the time that more than half the nation’s producers had been seriously financially hurt by Murray Goulburn and Fonterra’s retrospective liquid milk price cuts.

“Estimates put the instant farm indebtedness at $120,000 for each Murray Goulburn farming family in southern States and the cuts had affected around two thirds of producers nationally.

“Following a national Dairy Industry Roundtable convened by Minister Joyce in August 2016, Minister Joyce announced a wide-ranging review of industry challenges and opportunities by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Barnaby Joyce said at the time the dairy industry inquiry would have ‘teeth’ and would be able to compel companies to cooperate.  This ACCC inquiry is ongoing but its interim recommendations have been strongly supported by Dairy Connect and we look forward to the final report being delivered to the Treasurer at the end of April.