Merged advocacy body eastAUSmilk began operation on Wednesday, promising a new era of direct representation for NSW and Queensland dairy farmers.
I am honoured to have been elected as inaugural chair and I look forward to working with the other members of the board and staff of eastAUSmilk to achieve a positive outcome for dairy producers in coming weeks, months and years.
The new industry body aimed to represent dairy producers from southern NSW to the tip of Queensland.
The significance of eastAUSmilk will be its strength in numbers and a unity of purpose that will be underpinned by the new organisation while bringing into play the best of the QDO and NSW's Dairy Connect Farmers' Group.
There are many issues needing to be addressed.
We must ensure that when increases in dairy prices occurs, such as that recently announced by the supermarkets for home-brand milk, that a part of that increase will be passed down the dairy value chain to ensure a win-win for all those involved in the dairy process.
Supermarket customers have shown a strong willingness to support dairy farmers due to the high nutritional produce that dairy farmers supply to their processor, but they need to be assured that when they pay that extra price at the supermarket checkout, the dairy farmer is receiving a fair share of that increased price.
EastAUSmilk's stronger cross-state representation will allow the organisation to advocate more strongly to state and federal governments, stakeholders and other interest groups about the importance of the dairy industry in Australia.
Other directors appointed to the eastAUSmilk board include James Geraghty, Gary Wenzel, Waylon Barron, Ruth Kydd and Graham Forbes.
I am proud to have Graham Forbes, a dairy farmer from Gloucester, NSW, as the vice-chair and I look forward to working with all of the board members.
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