Our dairy farmers are caught in a long-running cost-price squeeze that is being compounded by drought and Liberal National Federal Government inaction.
Local National MPs have failed to stand up for local dairy farmers.
I’ve met with dairy farmers in Central and Northern Victoria. The situation is dire with many struggling with rapidly increasing costs of production and low farm gate prices. When sitting around their kitchen tables, they talk about how tough it is, how their neighbouring farmers are getting out of the industry and culling their dairy herds.
Labor believes Government intervention is needed to save our dairy sector and our dairy farmers.
A Shorten Labor Government will task the ACCC with testing the efficacy of a Minimum Farm Gate Milk Price and to make recommendations on the best design options.
It is not acceptable for our farmers to be paid less than the cost of producing their milk. If a floor price is needed to end this crisis, that’s what Labor will deliver.
If Australia wants a thriving dairy industry, leaders must act. Business as usual needs to end, and directing the ACCC to assess, test and design a floor price is an important first step in giving our dairy farmers a fair go.
The Liberals and Nationals talk a big game for farming communities in Canberra, but they’ve done nothing to help our dairy farmers and refuse to intervene in the market.
Labor will also establish a mandatory Dairy Code of Conduct to ensure the dairy market is functioning fairly for all participants.
The Liberal National Government has had more than five years to implement a Code of Conduct and has failed. In Senate estimates yesterday the Morrison Government admitted it has kicked the Mandatory Code down the road to 1 July 2020. Labor will make a Mandatory Code a priority.
Labor’s Farm Productivity and Sustainable Profitability Plan will also include a focus on farm extension to ensure our farmers have access to the latest productivity enhancing innovation.
This is another issue that is raised with me during farm visits. I know this announcement will be welcomed by local farmers keen to modernise but are being held back.
Urgent action is required to also safeguard supply chain jobs. If we lose dairy farmers we lose milk and put at risk thousands of milk and dairy processing jobs.
Australia’s $4 billion dairy farming industry supports more than 5,500 farming families and creates around 42,500 jobs.