A number of NSW Nationals MPs have joined the chorus calling for milk price relief from the major supermarkets.
Dairy farmers are under pressure from rising feed prices while processors sell milk to Coles, Woolworths and Aldi that lands on the shelf with a $1 per litre price tag. Many farmers have complained that the price of producing milk is higher than what it is being sold for, prompting fears about the future of Australia’s dairy industry.
The Nationals in Government, at both a State and Federal level, are committed to supporting our farmers.
Earlier this week, NSW Nationals Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser said he had written to the big supermarkets asking them to lift their prices and pass that straight back to the farmers, so they wouldn’t be squeezed out of their industry.
This was echoed by Federal Agriculture Minister and Nationals MP David Littleproud, who used media appearances on Wednesday to lobby for price relief.
“We all know many of our farmers are really struggling right now,” Mr Littleproud said. “The dairy sector in particular is having a tough time. Many of our farmers are being paid less than the cost of production. This is unsustainable. If our farmers don’t make it through the tough times, they won’t be there to supply Australia milk in the future. The fact is $1 milk has devalued the milk category in the eyes of consumers by making it cheaper than water.”
Minister Littleproud said if retailers supported a 10 cent levy on each litre of milk, then he would look at ways of introducing it as a temporary measure.
Federal Nationals Member for Page Kevin Hogan welcomed the idea of a temporary milk levy to assist the nation’s dairy farmers.
“This is a good temporary measure that will assist many of our local dairy farmers,” Mr Hogan said. “The levy is no silver bullet, but it will give local dairy farmers financial relief as they come together as an industry to develop a united position in a response to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission report and on a mandatory Code of Conduct. It is important that the industry tells the Government what we can do to help them, rather than politicians and bureaucrats in Canberra telling farmers how to farm. I am also pleased that the Minister is discussing the issue with big supermarkets, including Woolworths.”