23
May

Canberra Must End Dairy Nightmare

CANBERRA MUST END DAIRY NIGHTMARE 

 
Katter’s Australian Party has called upon Barnaby Joyce to drop the rot and assist the dairy industry which is on the verge of collapse.

KAP President, long time dairy industry advocate and dairy farmer, Shane Paulger said the Deputy Prime Minister cannot use an impending campaign as an excuse.

"This situation is disgusting, caretaker mode or not, Mr Joyce and the LNP government need to take responsibility for their inaction," Mr Paulger said.

"When you can’t give a straight answer to a 16 year old girl about the future of her family farm you surely must know, you need to act," he said referring to Mr Joyce’s inadequate response to Victorian teen Chloe Scott, who is petitioning for a better dairy pricing system. If he has a decent bone in his body he will man up and introduce immediate exceptional circumstance assistance and a levy while long term solutions are formulated.

"Price cuts forced on farmers by processors like Murray Goulburn and Fonterra in Victoria are symptoms of policy failure," he said.

It’s about time both the Coalition and Labor accept that deregulation of dairy is a dismal failure. In Queensland since D-day in 2000 the system has failed. At the time of deregulation we had over 1700 dairy farmers, while today we have around 400 and a significant shortfall of fresh local milk to even supply Queensland’s needs. Clearly it’s time that both major parties changed direction, admitted they got it horribly wrong and started supporting this crippled industry. The supermarkets are using their power in an unconscionable manner to drive profits over the broken backs of our farmers.

Without doubt, the price turmoil in Victoria will certainly flow through to Queensland and further decimate the industry at a time when agriculture in Australia is the darling of the world.

As a member of the farming community, Mr Paulger said he is concerned about the wellbeing of the families whose farms are involved in this tragedy. 

"People have poured their lives into their farms, working 80-100 hours per week, it's no surprise they're at crisis level when they have no control over the price of their product," he said. We are turning our dairy farming families into 3rd world peasants. 

"We've already begun to hear stories of some farmers taking their own lives and families relying on charity to feed their families. Enough is enough! I am pleased to hear we are seeing rallies to Parliaments in Melbourne and Brisbane this Wednesday and call on concerned members of the community come and to support our desperate dairy farmers to ensure they start to get a fair deal."

Mr Paulger said primary producers had given up on government driving an irresponsible free market agenda.

"The LNP continue to push lies that they are looking after the bush, yet they turn their backs, when there is a solution, an arbitrated price" Mr Paulger said.

"The dairy industry has been decimated by the Coalition Government Deregulation which Bob Katter and I campaigned hard against."

"In the end, it destroyed many farmers, along with associated industries, ripping tens of millions of dollars out of the local economy in the process."

"History has shown that the $1/L milk instigated by Coles and copied by Woolworths and Aldi, has dramatically devalued our clean, green, locally produced milk. To think that they use this cheap milk as a marketing ploy to lure customers into their stores is quite frankly despicable. When water is dearer than milk, one really has to question where has the free market ideology got us? For Coles now to say that they want farmers to receive an extra 10c/L, when they began this downward spiraling of our milk price is hypocrisy of the highest order. The destruction of decent, hardworking dairy farming families and the toll it has taken on them should be a heavy burden for Coles boss Mr Durkin and the Coles team to carry.

"The political stagnation and arrogance has lead to disastrous neglect in the stability of the sector, all because of a failed free market ideology," he said.

KAP Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth said he and fellow cross bench member for Mt Isa Rob Katter have met with stakeholders in Queensland Dairy industry on this issue.

The State team have committed to putting forward a solid solution to assist the industry in the coming months and our Federal team will keep pursuing the agenda with all its vigour.

ENDS

For comment call: 0412 166 775

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