Dairy on the March

By Brian Tessmann, QDO President

Last Wednesday over 150 dairy farmers and supporters marched in a grass roots inspired action calling for an end to the supermarket milk price war and $1 per litre milk. The farmer’s rallying outside Queensland’s Parliament house called on the large supermarkets to cease the sale of and store promotion via $1 milk. The call was for both State and Federal governments to take action in developing a free and fair domestic market for liquid milk by ensuring an end to the milk discounting, never to return.

While not the organisers, Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation (QDO) attended and participated in the event as a principled show of solidarity with the simultaneous rallies occurring around the country. These rallies which were organised through social media were a venting of the frustration that many, including QDO and its members, have been feeling for a long time about the poor treatment they have been receiving from the major retailers since $1 milk started in January 2011.

After all this time it appears that consumers and some in government are finally starting to listen to the dire predictions that have become reality QDO warned of in 2011. It is just a pity that it has taken the southern disaster to open the eyes of the public to the Queensland dairy’s hardships.

QDO is concerned that the criteria for the government’s dairy assistance package announced by Barnaby Joyce does not make support loans available for Queensland dairy farmers. At present there are only references the recent incidences in the south excluding Queensland. Many including deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce have called for an end to $1 milk and the Turnbull government have promised changes including an ‘effects test’ if re-elected in July. However, to date, dairy has been given the cold shoulder by Bill Shorten and the Federal Labor Party. Clearly we need both the Labor and Liberal parties to back the dairy industry, because at the end of the day all we are asking for is a fair go.