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Creating a vibrant dairy industry that looks after its people, communities, and investors
The Australian dairy industry promises to provide nutritious food for a healthier world, underpinned by our commitments to the community, our people, the environment, and our animals.
Alignment with SDGs
Helen Dornom Dairy Australia • Australia
Food industries like dairy are at the centre of many of the sustainability challenges facing the world today, with issues like land degradation, biodiversity loss, food security, climate change, population growth, water scarcity, animal welfare, public health, human rights and technological disruption challenging the way food is made. COVID-19 has introduced further challenges but also provided an opportunity for dairy to continue to provide nutritious food for a healthier world.
Our dairy promise
A key commitment that underpins our dairy promise to provide nutritious food is a commitment to our people. People are central to everything we do and we want to create a vibrant industry that rewards dairy workers and families, our communities, business and investors.
The Australian dairy industry is one of Australia’s major rural industries. Dairy makes an enormous social and economic contribution to the eight regions it operates in within Australia. Approximately 46,000 people are directly employed on dairy farms and in dairy companies. Associated transport, distribution, farm services and R&D activities represent further employment associated with the dairy industry. Additionally, dairy processing often occurs close to farming areas, generating significant economic activity and employment in regional areas.
Building strong rural and regional economies
Profitability of farm businesses is core to the success of the Australian dairy industry, enabling it to contribute strongly to rural and regional economies. To that end, the Australian dairy industry has set itself key goals and targets to achieve profitable and vibrant communities while looking after our people. These goals are:
1. Building strong rural and regional economies
Programs to support this include:
DairyBase: a web-based tool that enables dairy farmers to measure and compare their farm business performance over time – identifying opportunities to drive profit and reduce risk
DairyFeedbase: aims to improve pasture performance, animal nutrition and the cost competitiveness of the feedbase
DataGene: aims to drive genetic gain and improve performance
DairyBio: develops important breeding tools for pasture and animals
2. Increase the resilience and prosperity of dairy communities
Activities to support this include:
Foodbank: Dairy companies donate dairy foods to Foodbank – a charitable organisation that provides food relief to vulnerable people
Sponsorship of Community events: Most dairy companies support local sporting clubs to help keep them operating and continuing to service their communities – sporting clubs also encourage people to exercise and build community ties
3. Provide a safe work environment for all dairy workers
Keeping our people safe is a key priority – and the industry aims for zero fatalities with all dairy workers implementing good safety practices. Programs that support this are:
Farm Safety Starter Kit: provides practical easy-to-use resources to assist dairy farmers to make sustainable improvements to the safety of farm owners, employees, families, contractors, service providers and visitors (see: https://www.thepeopleindairy.org.au/farm-safety/dairyhomesafely)
4. Provide a productive and rewarding work environment for all dairy workers
The industry has developed a number of support programs to help achieve this, including:
People in Dairy: See https://www.thepeopleindairy.org.au/ This includes information about employing people, developing farm transition plans, on-line learning.
The Industry recently adopted a Human Rights position, recognising that it is the responsibility of each part of the supply chain to ensure they are acting consistent with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
Moving the wheel
Our commitment to our people is just one of four commitments that underpin our dairy promise. The other three are commitments to: Improving the wellbeing of people through providing nutritious, safe, quality dairy food; providing best care for all our animals through striving for health, welfare and best care for all our animals throughout their lives; and reducing environmental impact through meeting the challenge of climate change and providing good stewardship of our natural resources.
The Australian dairy industry Sustainability Framework is the industry’s guide to sustainable dairy production. The ambition of our Framework is aligned with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) – and we have reset our goals and targets to 2030 – the same as the SDGs – publicly reporting our progress annually against these goals and targets. For more information see www.sustainabledairyoz.com.au.
See our stories
Noel and Ann Campbell have employed staff for the past 22 years. They have learnt that everyone can win when employees stay for the long-term, making it well worth the effort involved in achieving a successful working relationship.
Providing a safe work environment is an extremely important component of the dairy business run by Chris and Charmaine Bagot of Jindivick in West Gippsland. The couple own a 350-cow farm with 1 full-time and 1 part-time employee and they take their safety obligations very seriously.