Merged advocacy body eastAUSmilk began operation in Wednesday, promising a new era of direct representation for NSW and Queensland dairy farmers.
eastAUSmilk chair, former Queensland Dairyfarmers Organisation vice-president, Matt Trace said 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," Mr Trace said
"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."
Mr Trace said many issues needed 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," he said.
"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."
Mr Trace said eastAUSmilk's stronger cross-state representation would allow it to advocate more strongly to government, stakeholders and other interest groups about the importance of the dairy industry.
Other directors on the eastAUSmilk board are James Geraghty, Gary Wenzel, Waylon Barron, Ruth Kydd and Graham Forbes.
Mr Forbes, a dairy farmer from Gloucester, NSW, was elected vice-chair.
"I am looking forward to working with Matt and the other members of the board to achieve positive and collaborative outcomes for dairy producers from the six district council regions of eastAUSmilk," Mr Forbes said.
"The opportunities for the new organisation to address the systemic issues that remain within the dairy value chain will be immense as will the challenges that we will confront."
Mr Forbes said the organisation would meet with members and other dairy farmers about the opportunities it would provide.
"The Australian dairy industry is a crossroads and being united and speaking with one voice will ensure long-term sustainability and a viable dairy industry for future generations of dairy farmers," he said.
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