SA Dairyfarmers' Association


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Thank you for the opportunity to provide industry feedback into the Commonwealth’s current consideration of National Water Reform.

Australian dairying is a $13 billion farm, manufacturing and export industry that employs 43,000 Australians and feeds millions every day.[1] Australia’s dairy farms are spread across eight unique dairying regions, found throughout Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania. We’re a critical national industry, and our lifeblood is water[IO1] .

What happens to water nationally has implications for dairy in every state and territory in which we operate. Water is a critical resource in all dairy farming systems, from pasture based, to irrigated systems and housed animal systems, as well as for manufacturing.[2]

Our industry’s success is further driven by our governance structure, which aims to optimise and maximise the efficient use of our water and other natural resource inputs. The Australian Dairy Industry Council (ADIC)[3] is dairy’s peak national body, representing the interests of farmers and processors through its two constituent bodies: Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF)[4] and the Australian Dairy Products Federation (ADPF)[5].

ADF represents all farmers from across Australia, and the ADPF represents post farm-gate members, including processors, traders, and marketers of Australian dairy. ADPF members process more than 90% of Australian milk volumes and provide dairy products for both domestic and export markets.

We’re also supported by Dairy Australia (DA) [6], the national services body for farmers and the industry. DA helps farmers: adapt to changing operating environments; and achieve a profitable, sustainable industry.

Overall, we’re deeply concerned by the way the Commonwealth is choosing to undertake this current approach to National Water Reform. It’s extremely disappointing that DCCEEW has chosen to ignore the PC’s advice and is instead pushing ahead with its own policy agenda.

Given the two competing processes that are currently underway, this submission is intended to be relevant to the activities of both the PC and DCCEEW.

For DCCEEW, in particular, this mustn’t be the last time you seek advice from the dairy industry on your national water reform efforts. The pathway to negotiating any new agreement must be fully transparent and must be open to frank public feedback every step of the way.