The dairy industry would be best served if the NSW Government’s proposal for an independent dairy advocate was extended to all states, according to Dairy Connect.
The NSW Government promised the appointment of an advocate in March to establish a fresh milk crisis taskforce and to drive a marketing campaign, but has not yet announced who will fill the position.
Dairy Connect chief executive Shaughn Morgan, told Dairy News the advocate position needed to be independent of government, so it could make public comment without being constrained by public sector rules.
Mr Morgan said the appointment of an advisery council needed to be formed with all stakeholders, processors, industry groups and supermarkets.
“They will need to find out what underpins the industry in NSW and to find out some solutions for some of the issues we are encountering,” he said.
“I think the advocate is really important in that regard.
“Dairy farmers have to have confidence and the processors need to know it is independent. If the advisory council doesn’t work, it won’t be able to achieve what it needs to do.”
Mr Morgan said matching appointments in other states would be beneficial to the national industry.
“NSW can’t go it alone. At the end of the day we need to be working together. Everyone is talking about leadership and this whole concept plays into that,” Mr Morgan said.
“Victoria takes a slightly different tack to us, so the UDV is looking at issue slightly differently from mandatory code to transport subsidies.
“Once they see the benefits that flow from this position in NSW, I hope that will be the catalyst for them to talk to their government.
“There are some very similar issues: skyrocketing fodder costs, electricity prices, milk supply agreements with unfair clauses,” Mr Morgan said.
Asked about the announcement by Coles it would enter into direct contracts with suppliers, Mr Morgan said while the mandatory code was not yet in place, Coles should comply with the spirit of the code.
“The code is not yet in place and it is not retrospective so it won’t apply to the five-year contracts Coles is reaching,” he said.