THE industry needed to capitalise on emerging markets to shape the future of Australia's dairy industry, according to the head of Dairy Australia's Trade and Strategy Group Chris Phillips.
He said dairy exports were worth about $3 billion annually to the nation's economy.
"The strong link between world market opportunities and prices and local farmer incomes makes it critical that industry continues to work to expand market access and not lose out to international competitors," Mr Phillips said.
"Achieving positive market access outcomes from the current WTO and related FTA negotiations are very important to underpin current industry returns. At the same time we will have to address emerging challengers to world dairy supply and a range of social and cultural trends.
"These challenges highlight the need to work together to maximise the market access benefits on offer to Australia dairy farmers."
It was importance to protect and defend Australia's position in global food and ingredients markets.
Dairy Australia technical issues manager Helen Dornom said regulatory and technical barriers were used to limit exporters' ability to take advantage of available access rights.
"The regulatory environment that supports the dairy industry's ability to produce, market and trade is a critical factor in maintaining and growing our sustainability and profitability," Ms Dornom said.
"Industry must maintain its input to the regulatory process to ensure that gains on one front are not eroded or lost through artificial barriers and rules."
Dairy Australia's head of national marketing Richard Lange sauid there was a need to promote and protect the goodness of dairy foods.
"In the competitive global food market, we need to protect dairy's inherent value against potential threats and maintain consumer confidence in the integrity of Australian dairy food products," Mr Lange said.