With the balance of power in NSW dependent on the outcome of the May 22, Upper Hunter by-election, political parties and independents are keen on locking in the farmers' vote.
Coal mining is gone from the Liverpool Plains was one such decision made by the NSW Coalition to woo that part of the electorate and then NSW Labor said they will establish a full-time Dairy and Fresh Food Commissioner to provide a strong, independent voice for the industry.
Dairy Connect welcomed Labor's commitment for a full-time independent statutory NSW Dairy and Fresh Food Commissioner so as to ensure a long-term sustainability dairy and fresh produce industries in NSW.
The advocacy group's CEO Shaughn Morgan said the announcement made by by the NSW Leader of the Opposition, Jodi McKay was strongly supported by Dairy Connect. Such a role should be implemented by dairy states Australia wide, he added.
Ms Jodi McKay and Labor's candidate for the Upper Hunter Jeff Drayton made the announcement during a visit to a dairy farm in Barrington.
Mr Drayton said Upper Hunter dairy farmers have been left to fend for themselves after the worst drought in the State's history.
"The Upper Hunter pumps billions into the NSW economy and all our dairy farmers have gotten in return is a part-time bureaucrat. The National Party promised to appoint a full-time, independent NSW Dairy and Fresh Food Commissioner but that's not what they delivered," Mr Drayton said.
"The dairy industry is reeling from the impact of a devastating drought and unprecedented fires. In their time of greatest need, The National Party have deserted farmers.
"I'm pleased NSW Labor has committed to delivering a true advocate for the dairy industry. Industry and farmers should not have to fend for themselves. They need urgent guidance and support. They're being short-changed by the Nationals' watered down, part-time NSW Fresh Milk and dairy Advocate." Ms McKay said:
"I grew up here in Gloucester and my dad worked in the dairy industry. I know the people and I know the area." "Labor's NSW Dairy and Fresh Food Commissioner will become a full-time statutory appointment with legislated powers, independent of Government. That means they'll advocate for dairy farmers. They'll be frank and fearless in their recommendations to Government. "This is what the dairy industry has been crying out for and that's what we will deliver."
Mr Morgan said "a state Dairy and Fresh Food Commissioner could anchor critical industry reforms by working in close cooperation with value-chain industry groups."
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