The Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation Ltd (QDO) has compiled recommendations for the Australian Government to work on in partnership with our industry. The Queensland dairy industry is a dynamic industry and a vital part of many rural and regional communities.
The industry is facing serious challenges, including the ongoing supermarket milk price war and increasing costs of operations. However, with continuing population growth in Queensland and Asia, the demand for fresh milk and other dairy products is increasing.
The QDO seeks support from the next Australian Government on the following issues:
- Approach the major supermarkets to increase the price of their house brand products on each litre of fresh milk, by for example 20 cents per litre with half going to farmers, to establish a fresh milk sustainability payment to dairy farmers producing fresh milk as an emergency measure to help stabilise our industry and to have the ACCC oversee the process.
- Continue to support the industry’s recommendations to address the unsustainable effects of excessive supermarket power of the domestic dairy supply chain, which include:
- a mandatory whole of supply chain Code of Conduct, headed by an Ombudsman or Commissioner that can enforce the code, with the power to issue monetary penalties, financial fines, and ensure contracts, prices and supply conditions are sustainable,
- strengthening the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 to outlaw predatory pricing and deceptive and misleading conduct and include an ‘effects test’,
- ACCC agricultural unit undertake a supply chain investigation of the domestic dairy industry to ensure all milk sold in Australia is done so with sustainable margins,
- extend fair trading protection provisions for consumers to small business, to outlaw conconscionable contract terms,
- Strengthen Collective Bargaining provisions to provide groups of dairy farmers with a fairer ability to negotiate supply conditions and prices with processors and or retailers.
- Support options to enhance the market power of Queensland dairy farmers, including co-operative structures and or improving collective bargaining provisions.
- Provide enhanced support for industry market development initiatives, including undertaking a market diversification strategy of high-value export opportunities for fresh milk, dairy products, livestock and genetics.
- Provide financial support to the development of a ‘farmer friendly’ milk label for Queensland domestic fresh milk market which would identify milk brands providing a fair and sustainable farm gate price to dairy farmers.
- Provide support for a small dairy manufacturer development program which is especially important for geographically isolated groups of Queensland dairy farmers.
- Establish a truly nationally integrated bio-security program that it is adequately funded and recognises, supports and complements industry bio-security programs, while also maintaining commitments to existing disease and pest eradication and management.
- That the Australian Government maintain the current BJD management system and commit to enhancing monitoring of and managing BJD risks to Queensland.
- Solutions to escalating electricity prices including rule changes that will allow the networks regulated asset base to be revalued to reflect redundant assets.
- The Government provide investment in the Queensland Dairy and Fodder Water for Profit and electricity efficiency programs to support farmers increase water use and electricity efficiency to stay sustainable despite escalating electricity and water prices.
- The ability of farmers to access funding from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to implement on farm energy efficiency systems including rebates for improving irrigation and dairy shed energy efficiency.
- With long transport distances in Australia and the importance of affordable fuel, continue to support the Fuel Tax Credit Scheme to support the long term competitiveness of dairy and other Australian agricultural industries.
- Maintain commitments to drought and natural disaster support and recovery programs.
- Concessional loans for dairy farmers in the southern production regions are extended to Queensland dairy farmers if the impacts flow on to Queensland dairy farmers.
- That the Government maintains the ability for farmers to manage vegetation regrowth and to develop new high value agricultural production areas.
- Further enhance the Commonwealth’s co-contribution to investment in dairy industry Research, Development and Extension to underpin innovation, improve productivity and sustainable profitability improvement and growth in the dairy industry.
- Provide a predictable path-to-market for Gene Technology R&D outcomes.
For further information contact the QDO on (07) 3236 2955 or e-mail email@example.com.
Brian Tessmann, President
Eric Danzi, Executive Officer
Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation