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Dairy industry tells Senate 'enough is enough'

NO MORE: Queensland Dairyfarmer Organisation issued a submission to the senate for improving dairy farmer conditions.
NO MORE: Queensland Dairyfarmer Organisation issued a submission to the senate for improving dairy farmer conditions. Jack Lawrie

THE Queensland Dairy Organisation has asked the Senate to consider removing the $1 per litre pricing for milk in an attempt to ease harsh business conditions for dairy farmers.

In a submission to the ongoing Senate inquiry into the dairy industry, the QDO argued the current pricing policy for Queensland dairy retailers was causing considerable financial hardship.

Through the inquiry, the QDO is seeking to reduce the power of retailers to dictate prices, establish an 'effects test' and resolve the issue of retailers selling dairy at wholesale prices without regulation.

The biggest issue facing dairy farmers is the rising costs of running a dairy farm, while milk prices have not increased to accommodate this.

According to former director and deputy chairman for Port Curtis Dairy association Carolyn Larsen, when the industry was deregulated on July 1, 2000, Port Curtis dairy farmers went from being paid 59.9 cents a litre to 39c a litre in the space of a day.

Due to years of activism from dairy industry groups, these prices had increased, but not enough to offset costs.

QDO vice-president Ross McInnes praised Network 10's The Project for generating a high rate of conversation on the topic and for encouraging empathy for the plight of dairy farmers.

"Unfortunately in Australia, we have a situation where consumers are repeatedly told they can have cheap food without being provided with an explanation on the repercussions of this," Mr McInnes said in an open letter to The Project host Waleed Aly.

"It may be a cliche, but the corporate sector is great at providing the spin and are all too willing to expect our producers to provide the sweat and the grunt behind their shiny 'cheap cheap' facade."

Submissions for the Senate inquiry have closed. Dairy farmers and industry stakeholders can expect a report by February 24.

Topics:  dairy industry milk prices queensland dairyfarmers' organisation senate inquiry


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