Late last week, Agriculture Minister David Littleproud announced that the federal Cabinet had endorsed the dairy industry’s Mandatory Code of Conduct.
Cabinet endorsement clears the way for the Committee to submit the draft wording for the regulations in the Code. Given the careful but laborious processes involved in the development of such a Code, Minister Littleproud and the Government are to be commended for the progress it has made to date.
There are 5 major issues that the Code of Conduct addresses and QDO supports these reforms and believes they will assist in redressing the balance of power between processors and farmers.
However, the Code does not address the urgent issue killing the Queensland dairy industry which is $1/L milk. All political parties, retailers and processors have a social responsibility to remove this cancer that has slowly killed the dairy industry not only in Queensland but in many other states including NSW.
If certain retailers with no social conscience continue to ignore the extreme and negative economic and mental health impacts of their policies, they need to be held accountable by all political parties. Or are profits of big business and bonuses for staff more important than the viability and mental health of farmers and the regional communities that depend on them?
The Code of Conduct is welcome but what the Queensland dairy industry need now is a permanent end to $1/L milk. For many dairy farmers in Queensland, and indeed, across Australia, the reforms that will come from the introduction of the Code will bring too little change. We need all parties in the value chain to take responsibility to ensure the survival of the Queensland dairy industry.
Eric Danzi. QDO Executive Officer