On Wednesday QDO President Brian Tessmann and Katter Australia Party (KAP) MP, Shane Knuth addressed the Queensland Agriculture and Environment parliamentary committee over the proposed Sustainable Queensland Dairy Production Bill. The committee was Chaired by Stretton MP Duncan Pegg (ALP) and included Tony Perrett MP (Gympie LNP), Jim Madden MP (Ipswich West ALP) Julieanne Gilbert MP (Mackay ALP), Robbie Katter (Mount Isa KAP) and Ted Sorensen MP (Hervey Bay LNP). The committee had many questions, so much so that the committee went overtime.
The committee asked questions on the intent of the bill and in particular whether there were examples of simular schemes elsewhere in the world. Mr Knuth discussed simular schemes in Europe and Brian, as well as highlighting the success of the Ethical Coffee Mark and how it has delivered fairer outcomes for 3rd world farmers.
Other questions included whether milk that was imported into Queensland would get the Fair Milk Mark. QDO quite clearly conveyed that only milk produced and processed in Queensland would have the logo. This would align with many of the existing Queensland specific brands in the current market.
QDO was asked whether it had looked at doing a Fair Milk Logo themselves after the first milk marl bill was defeated. Brian pointed out that dairy industry had tried at a national level through ADF to get a logo developed but processors eventually withdrew and many believe due to pressure from other industry sectors. He added that QDO was disappointed no funding came from government following the last bills rejection for QDO to further investigate and highlighted that QDO did not have the resources to do itself.
The committee asked whether enough information was in Queensland Dairy Accounting Scheme (QDAS) for the minister to adequately determine what would be an appropriate cost for ‘sustainable milk’. The committee was assured that there was, but if there was a situation where not enough information was available, then industry would be allowed to contribute with the determination.
Mr Knuth thanked QDO for its help and input at the hearing. It was reassuring to have such an engaged and interested committee in QDO submission position on the Bill.