The Australian Dairy Industry is the first of a growing number of dairy operations to shut down due to financial problems.
The industry, which employs almost 10,000 people across New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, says it has a $200 million shortfall in its cash reserves.
It has been forced to rely on debt to cover the shortfall.
“The industry is very well supported by the public,” says Sarah Hock, a spokeswoman for the Australian Dairy Council.
“It’s the largest employer in the region and the industry has been around for more than 150 years.”
The industry has also suffered from a lack of skilled labour.
The Australian Council for Agricultural Workers (ACAWU) says there are more than 7,000 dairy workers in Australia, with around half of them employed in the dairy industry.
In New South Scotland, the number of working dairy workers has fallen by 70 per cent in the past five years.
It is estimated that about 1,000 workers are being laid off each month, and most of those jobs will be cut.
The ABC spoke to members of the Australian National Dairy Council and a group of Australian farmers.
The dairy industry in New South South Wales has been hit hard by the closure of the industry.
Photo: Mark Evans Dairy jobs have fallen over the past 10 years, from 4,000 to 1,300.
“In the dairy business in the last five years, it has fallen from 4.2 million to just over 3 million jobs,” says Dr Andrew Taylor, the chairman of ACAWU.
“We are not going to get the same amount of dairy farmers that we had in the 1970s, ’80s or even ’90s.”
He says the closure has left many dairy farmers without a stable job and is impacting on the industry’s ability to hire people to replace them.
“If we don’t see more jobs coming back into the dairy sector, we are going to be looking at another significant downturn,” Dr Taylor says.
“There is a shortage of trained people.”
What is the dairy milk industry?
The dairy milk business, which is involved in processing milk, is one of the biggest industries in Australia.
The business produces about a third of Australia’s milk.
Photo : Andrew Meares Around 40 per cent of the world’s milk comes from the dairy herd.
A majority of Australian milk is sold in the supermarket and processed in the meat industry.
The milk industry is the largest industry in Australia and employs around 40 per, according to the ACAWW.
The ACAWS Dairy Industry Council is the industry body.
The Dairy Council says the dairy farmers who are being let go have no experience or skills.
Photo:- Mark Evans “They have no business model,” Dr Hock says.
Some of the jobs that are being cut are seasonal positions.
“They are going back to the dairy,” Dr Scott said.
“I don’t think there’s any way of finding people who are going out there and doing what they have been doing for the past two decades.”
The ACMW is also facing challenges from the state’s health and safety regulations.
Under the new rules, dairy farms are required to close when milk production is at a critical level and they cannot produce milk until the milk production has reached a certain level.
“Dairy farms can’t go on,” Dr John McQuillan says.
He is also worried about the impact on milk prices.
“Farmers are going up and down, up and back, up a lot of times,” he says.
The ACT is also grappling with the closure, with the state government announcing plans to allow the sale of farm products and services to dairy farmers in the ACT.
“Agricultural operators, dairy farmers, are working in an environment where there is uncertainty about the future,” Health Minister David Gillespie says.
“They’re working in a climate where they have to be able to cope with the volatility of the markets.”