Oct 25 2016
Conflict of Interest
Australia’s dairy industry is spiraling to oblivion as farmers battle producers for fair milk prices. Believing their primary voice, Dairy Australia quoting, “projecting the national services body for dairy farmers and the industry to help farmers adapt to a changing operating environment, and achieve a profitable, sustainable dairy industry”, are but a toothless tiger.
With dairy farmers struggling to make a sustainable living, are casting serious doubt upon this so called arm of dairy farmers to tackle monopoly puppet masters from Australia’s largest dairy industry milk producers “Murray Goulburn Co-operate Co Limited”, retailing “Devondale”, dictating pricing their way or take to the highway.
Inquiries by Senator Jaquie Lambie reveal that Chairman of Dairy Australia and a Director of Murray Goulburn Co-operate Co Limited are married and operate a 700 cow dairy in Victoria.
Natalie Akers was elected to the Board of Murray Goulburn in 2011. She is a member of the Finance, Risk and Audit Committee and Supplier Relations Committee. Natalie is a dairy farmer, milking 700 cows at Tallygaroopna, in northern Victoria. She has a Bachelor of Public Policy and Management with Honours, a Bachelor of Arts and has completed the Fairley Leadership Program. Natalie has pursued a professional career in agriculture, including water policy and dairy research and development. Natalie is also a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Chairman of Dairy Australia Mr Geoff Akers is a dairy farmer from Tallygaroopna in Northern Victoria. He has extensive experience in dairy research, development and extension. He worked for Victoria’s then Department of Agriculture (Target 10 and Operation Mid Lactation) and at the Kyabram Research Institute. He spent four of six years on the Murray Dairy Board as Chairperson and two years on the National Dairy Alliance Board. He has also served as a Director of Australian Dairy Farmers Board, a Central Councillor of the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria and is a former Chair of the Victorian Farmers Federation Water Council. He is also a former Director of the Northern Victorian Irrigation Renewal Project
Jaquie Lambie’s newsletter published …
During Senate Estimates, I raised conflict-of-interest concerns with the chair of Dairy Australia, Mr Geoff Akers, who admitted that his wife was on the board of Australia’s largest dairy manufacturer Murray Goulburn.
Normally I wouldn’t inquire about the personal lives of any person in organisations that receive taxpayer funds, but given hundreds of Tasmanian dairy families are facing ruin because of the way the Australian dairy industry has been managed – I stand by my questioning of Mr Akers during Estimates Hearings.
The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners state that, “conflict-of-interest is a gateway to corruption”, and given the dangerous mess that our Dairy industry is in – farmers right now must be given a guarantee that their representatives, running Dairy Australia are acting solely in farmers’ best interests
– not the interests of other parties.
It’s important for all Australians to establish if Dairy Australia is a truly independent body, given the taxpayer contributes tens of million to its operations every year.by