Former Vic Premier John Brumby AO has been appointed Independent Chair of the Australian Dairy Plan, with national industry consultation to begin later this month.
The ADP report is set to be finalised later this year, with Mr Brumby to serve as Independent Chair until then.
The plan is expected to set a new agenda for the industry and aims to identify key industry priorities at a national level for the next five years and beyond.
t is collectively supported by Dairy Australia, Australian Dairy Farmers, Australian Dairy Products Federation and the Gardiner Dairy Foundation.
Mr Brumby was Vic Premier from 2007-2010 and also served as state Treasurer and State and Regional Development Minister for more than seven years.
Since leaving politics in 2011, he has been appointed chair of a number of business and not for profit organisations, is 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," he 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."
Mr Brumby said he would spend the coming months listening to all stakeholders, while attending regional workshops to build consensus on key issues.
"Our goal is to then develop a clear action plan to deliver positive and effective change," he said.
"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."
ADF president and Australian Dairy Industry Council chair Terry Richardson said Mr Brumby brought valuable experience to the "very important position".
"His appointment will support confidence in the Australian Dairy Plan and bring independence to the process," he said.
DA chair Jeff Odgers was 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 GDF's 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.
ADPF president Grant Crothers said Mr Brumby had a track record in working with complex issues and understands not only that the issues in dairy are complex but also the challenge of bringing the different organisations together.
- Locations and dates for nationwide consultation workshops during May and June can be found at dairyplan.com.au/get-involved