Barnaby Joyce and Malcolm Turnbull meeting MG. Pic credit: The Guardian Australia
Tomorrow, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce will bring the cream of the dairy community – from retailers and processors through to farmers – together in a symposium to discuss our futures.
It’s acknowledged there is much work to do in order to rebuild trust. One of the measures widely touted – including by Murray Goulburn itself after an earlier chastening at the hands of Minister Joyce and PM Turnbull – has been increased transparency.
Yet tomorrow’s meeting will be:
- attended by a list of so-far-unknown representatives on an invitation-only basis and;
- their discussion will be conducted in secret.
No wonder many average dairy farmers outside the inner circle feel excluded and frustrated.
I take my hat off to Barnaby for dragging all the parties together. But this pivotal meeting needs to be an open and honest discussion of what can be done to renew the confidence of Australian dairy farmers in our futures. And if there’s a bully in the room who demanded the doors be closed, it’s time that bully was called out.
Nobody in the Australian dairy supply chain has the right to hold the rest of us to ransom any more. The high moral ground has been well and truly lost.
There are fears that the dairy symposium will be yet another talk-fest over tea and cucumber sandwiches that achieves little other than the fulfillment of a political promise. I’m hoping it will be so much more. If Barnaby Joyce can hold Johnny Depp to account, anything is possible.
Thank you very much to the Deputy PM’s office for providing this information:
The symposium will be held in Melbourne tomorrow. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, Dairy Australia and the ACCC’s agriculture commissioner, Mick Keogh will all address the symposium, to be chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce.
A spokeswoman for the Deputy Prime Minister said:
“We have invited key stakeholders from farmer organisations, processors and retailers to a dairy symposium to facilitate industry-led options to address the challenges facing the Australian dairy industry and discuss ways to improve the industry’s prospects going forward.
“The agenda will cover a number of topics including the outlook for the Australian dairy industry and options for improving milk price transparency, strengthening bargaining and restoring industry confidence.
“The symposium is an opportunity to facilitate an industry-led discussion to better manage risk along the dairy supply chain, including managing the effects of world dairy prices.”
FURTHER UPDATE FROM AUGUST 25
Thanks again to the Deputy PM’s office for a list of RSVPs:
Farmer representative bodies
Australian Dairy Farmers
Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation
South Australian Dairyfarmers’ Association
Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association
United Dairy Farmers of Victoria
Western Australia Farmers
National Farmers’ Federation
ACE Farming Company
Farmer, Willow Grove Gippsland
Farmer, Trafalgar Gippsland
Leppington Pastoral Company
Dairy Farmers Milk Co-operative
Australian Dairy Products Federation
Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC)
Bonlac Supplier Group
Macalister Irrigation District Customer Consultative Committee
Sinclair Wilson Accountants Warrnambool
Manning Valley Fresh Group, Taree Collective Bargaining Group NSW
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources
Assistant Minister for Rural Health, Federal Member for Lyne
Federal Member for Forrest
Federal Member for Wannon
Senator for Victoria
Victorian Minister for Agriculture
Leader of the Nationals Victoria, Victorian Shadow Minister for Agriculture
Deputy Prime Minister’s Agriculture Industry Advisory Council
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Dairy Food Safety Victoria
Murray Darling Basin Authority
Campaspie Shire Council
Department of Agriculture and Water Resources
Department of Economic, Jobs, Transport and Resources