Dairy Connect welcomes NSW Labor’s dairy ‘roadmap’.

The announcement by the NSW Opposition Leader, Michael Daley MP, that a future NSW Labor Government would appoint a ‘powerful’ Dairy and Fresh Food Pricing Advocacy unit, to champion the cause of farmers, was strongly welcomed by Dairy Connect.

CEO Shaughn Morgan said that, on face value, NSW Labor’s roadmap accurately reflected recommended initiatives that had been championed by Dairy Connect in the run-up to the next election.

“The devil is in the detail and there is a need to ensure the independence of the proposed unit as well as its yet to be appointed head and it must focus clearly on strengthening its mission and ensuring it has appropriate support.

“The key role of the Advocate should be to fully implement the recommendations of the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the Sustainability of the NSW Dairy Industry tabled in December last year,” he said.

“The Dairy Connect submission to that inquiry considered a range of relationships, challenges and opportunities that existed up and down the value chain.

“Vitally, the Advocate would have a strong focus on the NSW dairy industry and to provide advice to Government and address the issues that they are currently facing in a quick and timely manner.

“The influence of the relationship between dairy producers and processors regarding farm-gate prices is particularly of concern because the farm-gate price paid generally is below the cost of production.”

The announcement was a response to representations by Dairy Connect and Michael Daley has promised that Labor, through the office of the Advocate, would compel the negotiation of fair and sustainable prices, name and shame businesses that engaged in unfair practices and open the supply chain to transparency.

As well as the Advocate implementing the recommendations stemming from recent Parliamentary inquiries, the Advocate would also engage with the Commonwealth and industry bodies to ensure that a Federal Mandatory Code of Conduct was implemented as quickly as possible.

The dairy advocacy unit would investigate ways to provide better access to the Farm Innovation Fund and would work with universities to find opportunities for collaboration and research.

The Advocate’s first task, as stated by NSW Labor, would be to engage with all stakeholders to determine priorities, legislative requirements and resourcing beyond the next financial year, indicating the consideration by the NSW Opposition in the development of this important dairy and fresh food Advocate and the supporting unit.