It is no exaggeration to say that we are facing a crisis in the dairy sector. If we don’t act, we face the very real prospect our drinking milk will come from imported milk powder.
Caught in a cost-price squeeze compounded by drought, our dairy farmers face an uncertain future and are desperately in need of some meaningful government action.
A Shorten Labor Government will:
• Establish a Mandatory Code of Conduct to address market power imbalance between dairy farmers and processors.
Labor will make the Mandatory Code a priority.
• Pursue the implementation of Minimum Farm Gate Milk Price for farmers.
A Shorten Labor Government will task the ACCC to test, assess and shape our minimum farm gate milk price proposal.
Most Australians are protected by a minimum wage and our dairy farmers should be too. A minimum farm gate price will provide that protection.
The Minimum Farm Gate Milk Price will be different in every dairy region because every region is different. Once the independent and expert body assesses the average cost of producing milk in a given region, it will declare the minimum price farmers can be paid. Farmers will continue to bargain for the highest price they can secure. But they can budget ahead knowing that their revenue will be at least the floor price. That guaranteed income should in turn deliver the certainty and confidence needed to plan and to invest in productivity-lifting innovation and infrastructure.
• Bring energy costs down.
Energy consumption is a big cost for dairy farmers. Labor’s energy policy will restore investment certainty and put downward pressure on electricity prices.
• Bolster extension Services.
Labor’s Farm Productivity and Sustainable Profitability Plan will include a focus on farm extension to ensure our farmers have access to the latest productivity enhancing innovation to put more farmers on the path to sustainable profitability.
Labor’s Farm Productivity and Sustainable Profitability Plan will be developed by an expert panel including scientists, economists, research bodies and farm industry leaders. The expert panel will be in place within 60 days following an election and will report to government within 12 months. Its advice will be made public.