The sustainability and viability of the WA dairy industry is dependent on long term investment according to WAFarmers, which has identified the issue as part of their State Election Policy Platform.
WAFarmers President Tony York said a dairy task force needed to be established to determine a long term solution for the WA dairy industry.
“WAFarmers requests that the Department of Food and Agriculture WA and the Minister for Agriculture and Food commit to working alongside other relevant departments and key industry stakeholders to agree to a long term solution to enhance the profitability and sustainability of the WA dairy industry,” he said.
“The key aim must be to achieve the sustained long term growth of the industry, particularly to retain the younger people currently working in the industry, as well as those studying to enter the dairy industry at a later date.”
Mr York said Western Australia had a shortage of manufacturing capacity, with over 90 per cent of the milk produced in the state being sold as fresh milk rather than being turned into products like butter or cheese.
“The objective of the dairy task force must include proactive measures for investment into the establishment of a secondary value added industry that can utilise high end milk production especially during peak seasonal output windows to balance seasonal milk supply,” he said.
“Western Australia must develop its capacity to manufacture products such as cheese, cream, butter, evaporated milks, and so on.
“WAFarmers will continue to advocate for investment in this space to foster growth, incentives and further export opportunities to balance seasonal milk supply.”
Mr York said WAFarmers had last year been involved in discussions regarding the future of the WA dairy industry and its producers, following a tumultuous year for the industry.
“Throughout 2016, WAFarmers took every possible opportunity to support the dairy farmers affected by contract cuts, and offer potential solutions in collaborative and cooperative talks with the State and Federal Governments, industry and other stakeholders,” he said.
“Given this deep involvement, having the establishment of a dairy task force as part of our Wish List on the WAFarmers State Election Policy Platform was a no-brainer.
“We look forward to being involved in these discussions and to doing our part to safeguard the future of the entire WA dairy industry.”