SOUTH-WEST dairy farmers are being urged to have a say on a five-year national plan that could re-shape their industry.
Former Victorian Premier John Brumby will independently chair the industry-led Australian Dairy Plan, which aims to set a new agenda, identify national priorities and create positive change in the embattled industry.
Groundwork for the plan will begin with consultation sessions for farmers in south-west Victoria next week.
WestVic Dairy chair Simone Renyard encouraged the region's dairy farmers to attend the sessions.
"It is very easy to be negative and there are many things that need change, but now is our real opportunity to do that," Ms Renyard said.
"I appreciate that three hours off farm is a very big ask, but if you can only get there for an hour over lunch, it would be great to have the voices of people in our region really heard."
United Dairyfarmers Victoria Wannon branch's Oonagh Kilpatrick said she hoped the plan would lead to better advocacy for dairy farmers.
"If we have a stronger united advocacy body that may mean, I hope, that there will be a higher milk price," Ms Kilpatrick said.
Mr Brumby, who was Victorian Premier from 2007 to 2010, said he would attend some of the consultations "to build consensus around a number of the key issues".
"Our goal is to then develop a clear action plan to deliver positive and effective change," he said.
"We want an industry with a strong plan working actively with government to take the industry forward, and we will proceed with an open mind regarding the structural changes which may be required to make this happen.
"I've seen first hand the capability of the dairy industry to achieve great things, and despite the cost pressures, there are many positive elements about the outlook for dairy."
The Australian Dairy Plan report will be finalised later this year.
People wanting to contribute to the plan can attend consultation workshops from 11am to 2pm in Colac on May 14, Cobden on May 15 and Koroit on May 16. More information is at https://www.dairyplan.com.au/get-involved
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.