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John Brumby to head dairy plan

Former Premier of Victoria John Brumby has been appointed the independent chair of the Australian Dairy Plan ahead of the start of nationwide industry consultation this month.

Mr Brumby will serve in this position until the Australian Dairy Plan report is finalised later this year.

The plan will set a new agenda for the industry and aims to identify key industry priorities at a national level.

The starting expectation of industry leaders is that the plan will deliver transformative and positive change for dairy in the next five years and beyond.

It is collectively supported by Dairy Australia, Australian Dairy Farmers, Australian Dairy Products Federation and the Gardiner Dairy Foundation.

Mr Brumby was Premier of Victoria from 2007-2010 and also served as state Treasurer and Minister for State and Regional Development for more than seven years.

Since leaving politics in 2011, Mr Brumby has been appointed the chair of a number of business and not for profit organisations.

In addition, Mr Brumby has extensive experience in China-Australia business relations through his work as national president of the Australian China Business Council and he is also Chancellor of La Trobe University, home to Australia’s leading agricultural research institute, AgriBio.

“Dairy is a significant contributor to our national economy and a major driver of jobs and opportunities in our regions,” Mr Brumby said.

“I have closely followed the challenges faced by the industry in recent years, and welcome the opportunity to work alongside industry leaders and play a role in the creation of a roadmap to achieve a more prosperous and confident future for dairy.

“I recognise that this is a difficult time to be looking to the future, given the extensive dry conditions across Australia and the current lack of profitability for many dairy farmers and dairy manufacturers.

“But this makes it more important than ever to get our focus right on the future and for the industry to unite and work together.

“I’ve seen first-hand the capability of the dairy industry to achieve great things, and despite the cost pressures, there are many positive elements about the outlook for dairy: local consumption is growing in both volume and value, international demand for Australian dairy products continues to grow, commodity prices have stabilised and processing companies have invested in building capacity.

“Over coming months, I will be listening to all stakeholders and attending a number of the regional workshops in order to build consensus around the key issues.

“Our goal is to then develop a clear action plan to deliver positive and effective change.

“We want an industry with a strong plan working actively with government to take the industry forward and we will proceed with an open mind regarding the structural changes which may be required to make this happen.”

Australian Dairy Farmers president and Australian Dairy Industry Council chair Terry Richardson said Mr Brumby brought valuable experience to this important position as an independent chair.

“His appointment will support confidence in the Australian Dairy Plan and bring independence to the process,” he said.

Dairy Australia chair Jeff Odgers said they were excited to have Mr Brumby’s involvement in this process.

“He will bring an external perspective to building consensus on key priorities, and assist with the changes required to achieve better outcomes for all parts of the industry,” he said.

The Gardiner Dairy Foundation’s Dr Bruce Kefford said the Dairy Plan would inform the strategic priorities and planning of all organisations involved in supporting dairy to make a difference for the future.

Australian Dairy Products Federation president Grant Crothers said Mr Brumby had a track record in working with complex issues and understood not only that the issues in dairy were complex but also the challenge of bringing the different organisations together.

Locations and dates for nationwide consultation workshops during May and June 2019 can be found along with other information at https://www.dairyplan.com.au/get-involved.

Source: The Australian airyfarmer

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