Proof is in the ‘NSW ALP pudding’ says Dairy Connect
Advocacy group Dairy Connect today welcomed a new NSW Opposition Bill setting out NSW Labor’s vision for the establishment of a ‘Dairy and Fresh Foods’ Advocate.
The NSW Shadow Agriculture Minister, Jenny Aitchison, said the new Bill was more comprehensive than the Government’s commitment made before the March State election.
At that time, the then state Agriculture Minister Niall Blair announced the planned appointment of a fresh ‘milk and dairy advocate’ and the establishment of a dairy business unit within the NSW Department of Primary Industries.
This followed a NSW parliamentary inquiry into the sustainability of the dairy industry and a report recommending that the state government immediately establish and fund an independent NSW commissioner for dairy.
The upper house inquiry recommended also that the inquiry itself by re-established after the March 2019 State election, which Dairy Connect strongly supports.
“The Labor initiative was welcome as is the need for the Parliamentary dairy committee to be re-established so to ensure an ongoing review of the issues confronting the NSW dairy industry,” said Dairy Connect Farmers Group President Graham Forbes.
“The devil is in the detail however and we’re looking forward to seeing the full proposal in terms of roles, independence, funding and structure,” Graham said.
Dairy Connect CEO Shaughn Morgan said today “It is critical that any new dairy advocate in NSW is free to operate independently of Government and that it is adequately funded.
“The dairy industry was experiencing market failure because of on-going drought, the rising cost of fodder, skyrocketing energy charges, depressed farmgate prices for fresh milk, the rise of plant sourced ‘fake milks’ and unfair milk supply agreements. Urgent government action is required now”.
“The NSW dairy advocate must be given the powers to investigate issues regarding the sustainability of NSW dairy as well as assisting in the introduction of a Federal Dairy Mandatory Code of Conduct so as to provide transparency, fairness & openness in milk supply agreements,” Shaughn concluded.