VFF UDV Policy Council met on Tuesday 21 February 2023 at the Dairy Australia offices in Melbourne.
A number of changes to the membership of Policy Council were dealt with. Outgoing Policy Councillor Gordon Nicholas (Region 4) was acknowledged by members and thanked for his long service to UDV and the Policy Council. Gordon has been a valued member of the council and his contributions will be missed. Members also thanked and acknowledged outgoing staff member Peter Costello.
Three new members, Ann Gardiner (Region 1), Jon Pethybridge (Region 4) and Aaron Thomas (Region 5) were appointed to fill casual vacancies having been endorsed by local VFF UDV branches in their respective regions. The Policy Council welcomes them and looks forward to their contributions.
A new Policy and Advocacy Plan was endorsed that will guide UDV’s work for the next two years. This plan includes work on advocating for government investment in cattle underpasses, changing policy settings to enable virtual fencing, and continuing UDV’s strong stance on the Murray Darling Basin Plan, amongst other industry issues. Policy Council has committed to take a joined-up approach to policy and advocacy moving forward, ensuring collaboration with partners such as Dairy Australia and Australian Dairy Farmers, and within the VFF on cross-commodity issues.
Policy Council received reports from Australian Dairy Farmers CEO Stephen Sheridan and Dairy Australia staff on a range of issues impacting the dairy industry. These issues included EU trade negotiations, emergency animal disease preparedness, workforce shortages, water policy and climate change.
The UDV Policy Council is committed to advocating for the best interests of dairy farmers in Victoria and looks forward to working towards achieving the goals outlined in the policy and advocacy plan.