Blighty farmer joins new dairy taskforce

By Zoe McMaugh

Blighty dairy farmer Malcolm Holm has been named as a member of the eight person dairy industry taskforce, which will advise on options for reform of industry organisational structures.

Mr Holm said the need for reform was highlighted as a priority issue at regional workshops held across Australia, including at Finley, and at a national workshop held on July 30 and 31.

The Joint Transition Team will recommend options for transformational change, which will form part of the plan’s report to be published by the end of the year.

It will report to the Australian Dairy Plan Committee, comprising the chairs of the four partner organisations and independent chair John Brumby.

‘‘The dairy industry has shrunk, and so the organisational structure within the industry we have had for the last 20 years might not necessarily be needed now,’’ Mr Holm said.

‘‘We’ll look at the organisations that work within the industry, and what they do.

‘‘We will be looking at an industry structure that will see us into the future, because the dairy industry is floundering at the moment, and at how we can streamline the industry to better serve the 5500 Australian dairy farmers that remain in the smaller industry.

‘‘Our recommendations will also aim to give farmers a more direct line of sight to what’s happening in the industry.’’

Mr Holm said the taskforce’s aim will not be easy, but said each member has been chosen for the skills they can offer to the process.

‘‘I have been involved in organisations that have been through a transitional change, whether that be during the transition or if it continued after I was there,’’ he said.

‘‘I also come from a region that has gone through a significant transitional change.’’

Mr Brumby said reform of current industry structure and advocacy arrangements was the ‘‘number one issue during Dairy Plan consultation meetings’’.

He said the taskforce was created in response.

‘‘We opened up the application process for membership of this taskforce, to ensure that anyone with relevant experience had the opportunity to be considered.

‘‘We received more than 30 applications, all of an extremely high standard. From these applications, we’ve appointed a strong team which can bring an enormous amount to this process along with an independent view.’’

Other members of the taskforce are: Shirley Harlock (Victoria), Bruce Donnison (Victoria/Tasmania), Adam Jenkins (Victoria), Lauren Finger (Victoria), Wes Judd (Queensland), Michele Lawrence (Tasmania) and Greg McNamara (NSW).