Fair price not a floor price

Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie
Minister for Agriculture

The Liberal and Nationals Government stands with our dairy farmers as we work to ensure they are paid a fair farm-gate price for their milk so that future generations can enjoy safe, nutritious and delicious Australian dairy.

Minister for Agriculture, Bridget McKenzie, said the drought and high input costs were making things especially hard for dairy farmers across Australia as feed and water costs rose and labour and electricity put even more pressure on balance sheets.

“Reregulating the industry would harm, not help our dairy farmers,” Minister McKenzie said.

“It’s not something the industry has asked for, in fact the vast majority of dairy farmers I’ve spoken with have pleaded with us to stop it.

“The private member’s bill that was defeated today held out false hope to those doing it tough as though one measure could ever be the silver bullet to the complex, unique and diverse issues of this important industry.

“Setting a minimum farm-gate milk price would do nothing to fix the current power imbalance between dairy farmers and processors and would do nothing to drive down input costs.

“What it risks is reducing the incomes of dairy farmers in the long-term by decreasing demand for milk and suppressing incentives to innovate and improve productivity.”

This government is progressing a range of measures to help the dairy industry including:

• A mandatory Code of Conduct to improve contractual arrangements between dairy farmers and their processors

• $10 million in grants to assist dairy farmers to upgrade or invest in energy efficient equipment to reduce their energy costs

• $8.1 million in additional funding to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Agriculture Unit; including establishing a dairy specialist

• $3 million in grants to support farmer groups to set up farm cooperatives and other collective business models, and

• $1.5 million to provide dairy farmers with contracting and legal advice including $560,000 to design, develop and test new milk pricing and trading concepts.

“Our 5700 dairy farming families deserve meaningful support and thoughtful policy.”

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