Andrea Dawkins MP to move—
That the House:—
(a) the sad and worrying predicament in which dairy farmers and suppliers around the Country have found themselves after the recent announcements by Murray Goulburn, Fonterra, Lion and now Cadbury to retrospectively lower the price they are willing to pay for milk products;
(b) that dairy farmers in Tasmania are now required to sell their milk for half the cost of production, which has caused such a dramatic impact on profits that some, have been forced to lay off workers and to consider closure;
(c) that the Federal Government has announced various strategies, including low-interest loans and further counselling services, to help farmers through the crisis, but that no long term action has been taken to enable farmers to continue production and stand on their own feet;
(d) that despite the initiative by Coles to develop a new milk brand designed to give 20 cents per litre to a ‘fighting fund’ to assist dairy farmers through the crisis, many in the industry, and the community, feel the Coles and Woolworths duopoly helped to create the problem in the first place;
(e) that indeed, Federal Coalition Minister for Agriculture, Hon Barnaby Joyce MP, publicly conceded the large supermarket chains participated in a ‘race to the bottom’ by retailing milk for $1 per litre.
(f) that milk produced by local company, Ashgrove, has flown off the shelves as the community rail against the big four producers and vote with their feet to show their support for the dairy industry;
(g) that the announcement by Murray Goulburn came off the back of a weakened demand in China for milk powder, and that the Chinese market is actually beginning to look to higher end products, such as organic, resulting in less demand for conventional products; and
(h) that there are a number of Tasmanian dairy farmers that would like to transition to an organic model of production, enabling them to tap into that demand for higher end products, but that current attitudes and regulations appear to be preventing this.
(2) Calls on the Minister for Primary Industries and Water, Hon Jeremy Rockliff MP, to develop a strategy that would enable dairy farmers in Tasmania wishing to transition to an alternative method of production to do so in a timely, efficient, and cost effective manner.