Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has floated the reintroduction of a minimum farmgate milk price if Labor wins this year’s federal election.

The federal Labor leader has pledged to have the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) examine the merits of re-regulating the industry following growing concerns about the future of the dairy sector.

“Labor believes government intervention is needed to save our dairy sector and our dairy farmers,” Mr Shorten said in a statement.

“It is not acceptable for our farmers to be paid less than the cost of producing their milk.

“If a floor price is needed to end this crisis, that’s what Labor will deliver.”

The Howard Government began the process of deregulating the drinking milk sector in 1999, with the implementation of the Dairy Structural Adjustment Program (DSAP).

The DSAP involved an 11 cent-per-litre levy on milk for eight years from July 2000, with individual state controls phased out.

Mr Shorten’s announcement coincides with new figures from Dairy Australia which show milk production continues to lag behind 2017-18 financial year levels.

Australian Dairy Farmers spokesman Ashley Mackinnon said the organisation welcomed the recognition from the Opposition Leader, although was lukewarm on the floor price proposal.

“There is no question that the dairy industry is in difficult times, with sustained high input costs and flat farmgate returns leading to increasing numbers of farmers exiting the industry,” Mr Mackinnon said.

Original article sourced from https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au

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