Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien has welcomed the Morrison Government's pledge to create a dedicated Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) "Dairy Specialist" and provide relief for energy costs for dairy farmers.
A re-elected Liberals and Nationals Government will deliver the new measures as part of a $22 million package to help dairy farmers across Australia improve returns and empower them in their commercial dealings.
"From the time of my very first speech in Parliament, I have advocated for our dairy farmers, ending the damaging $1 milk war, and rebuilding the dairy industry," Mr O'Brien said.
"While the major supermarkets have ended their unfair dollar-per-litre pricing, we are hearing from dairy farmers around the country that they are continuing to feel the pressure of low prices, an unfair market place, lack of information from the supply chain, and high energy costs.
"Sadly, we've seen too many people leaving the industry as a result of difficult market circumstances so this investment by the Coalition Government is great news for not only our dairy farmers and their families but for our communities in Wide Bay who rely on the industry.
"This suite of new initiatives is about giving dairy farmers relief right now and setting them up to succeed into the future."
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said: "When our regions do well, Australia and our economy do well."
"Only the Liberals and Nationals have a plan to back our dairy farmers that doesn't rely on raising $387 billion in higher taxes as Bill Shorten and Labor are proposing."
The Morrison Government is backing our dairy farmers with new measures, including:
- $10 million from the Energy Efficient Communities Grants Program to support dairy farmers reduce energy costs through more energy efficient equipment;
- Establishment of a "Dairy Specialist" position in the ACCC Agricultural Unit – established by the Liberal and Nationals Government in 2015 – to give the dairy sector a dedicated voice to ensure enforcement and compliance with the Mandatory Code of Conduct;
- An additional $8.1 million injection into the ACCC Agricultural Unit, over and above our 2020 Budget commitment to ensure it is well resourced to continue its work on fair-trading and competition for the dairy and agriculture sector;
- $500,000 to Dairy Australia to extend their financial and legal advice service to more farmers, and to improve legal and financial literacy for contract negotiations with processors;
- $150,000 to Australian Dairy Farmers to develop with processors a simple standard form contract that incorporates the requirements of the Dairy Mandatory Code of Conduct;
- $300,000 to Australian Dairy Farmers to develop a real time dairy payment system and supply chain information sharing capacity using blockchain technology; and
- $3 million for a Starting Farms Cooperative Program to provide grants to assist farmers groups establish farm cooperatives and other collaborative business models.
Today's announcement builds on the work already underway in support of the dairy industry, including implementation of a Dairy Mandatory Code of Conduct, a commitment of $560,000 to deliver a new marketing and trading platform to give dairy farmers more say over how and when they sell their milk, and access to Farm Household Allowance and dairy recovery concessional loans.
Only the Coalition Government through our strong economic management and genuine commitment to agriculture is standing by our farmers and their communities in difficult times.