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Posted on March 26, 2024

Movers and milk-shakers at Dairy Symposium

Heavy hitters from across Australia's dairy industry have gathered in Melbourne for a National Dairy Symposium hosted by the Australian Government.

The symposium brought together industry groups, dairy producers, processors and government to take the pulse of Australian dairy and delivers on an election commitment made by the Albanese Government.

Strong collaboration between government, Dairy Australia, Australian Dairy Farmers and Australian Dairy Products Federation ensured a successful day of discussions.

The National Dairy Symposium comes off the back of another strong year for dairy producers.

The average farm cash income across all dairy farms in Australia in 2022-23 is projected to be $361,000 per farm - an increase of 10% on the previous year, and a record high for the industry in real terms.

Average dairy farm cash incomes in all states are now considerably higher than their corresponding ten year averages.

Australian milk production is also expected to increase by 1.8% to 8.3 billion litres in 2023-24, with more and more Aussies consuming delicious locally produced drinking milk.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt said the symposium showed the government's commitment to supporting the dairy industry.

"Dairy is Australia's third largest agricultural industry, and we will continue to do everything we can to support Australian dairy producers and processors, even when that means making tough decisions," Minister Watt said.

"Last year, we walked away from a free-trade agreement with the EU which wouldn't have been worthwhile for the Australian dairy industry.

"Trade deals should benefit Australian businesses, and we want our dairy industry to grow and prosper.

"That's why today I've announced that we will fund Dairy Australia to work with the department to deliver industry workshops on dairy's productivity challenge.

"What makes Australian agriculture unique is the way we take up new and innovative ways of operating, and it's no different for the dairy industry.

"We want to find out how we can improve dairy farm productivity, and we're putting together the resources to make it happen. "This is critical to the whole industry, and the whole industry will need to get involved to identify where we can innovate and grow.

"Dairy Australia will report back to me by the end of the year on the outcome of the process."

Minister Watt said the Dairy Code of Conduct has changed the way the industry works, but the time to take another look at it would soon arrive.
"The Code was first reviewed in 2021 and found to be operating as intended.

"It's put trust back into the industry and helped strengthen the relationships between producers and processors.

"That said, we need to make sure the Code continues to work for everyone which is why today I've announced that consultation for the second review will commence in September this year.

"A discussion paper is also currently seeking input and submissions on the Code, and I encourage everyone in the industry to submit their feedback.

"This symposium has brought together the best and brightest from the dairy industry to work together, share their knowledge and make their opinions known.

"I want the voices of our industries to be front and centre when the time comes for government decisions to be made.

"It has been a privilege to hear more from the industry at today's symposium."