No change to the dairy levy

Our farm­ers will not be polled

Central and North Burnett Times - - FENCE POST - Jack Lawrie jack.lawrie@cnbtimes.com.au

THE dairy levy will not be changed, after the Dairy Levy Poll Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee unan­i­mously de­cided not to re­quest a levy poll.

This de­ci­sion was made after a num­ber of meet­ings, which cited a sub­mis­sion from Aus­tralian Dairy Farm­ers and Dairy Aus­tralia which went into the is­sues, chal­lenges and sta­tus of the dairy in­dus­try land­scape.

The levy sits at 2.868c/kg milk fat and 6.991c/kg pro­tein.

Dairy Aus­tralia is sup­ported by the levy and is the na­tional ser­vices body of the dairy in­dus­try.

Com­mit­tee chair­man John Lawren­son said the com­mit­tee had been mind­ful of the cur­rent state of the dairy in­dus­try and the im­pact prices had on farm prof­itabil­ity.

“In con­sid­er­ing the level of the levy, the com­mit­tee was cog­nisant of the need to en­sure that an ap­pro­pri­ate level of fund­ing is avail­able to Dairy Aus­tralia to sup­port the cur­rent and fu­ture long-term re­search, de­vel­op­ment and ex­ten­sion strat­egy for the dairy in­dus­try which is crit­i­cal to im­prov­ing farm pro­duc­tiv­ity,” Mr Lawren­son said.

The DLPA Com­mit­tee formed as a re­sult of a 2015 vote held by dairy levy hold­ers which re­moved the com­pul­sory re­quire­ment for a poll to be held ev­ery five years.

In­stead, the com­mit­tee con­venes ev­ery five years to de­ter­mine whether a change to the levy should be pro­posed.

Of the 15 com­mit­tee mem­bers, 11 are dairy levy pay­ers.

Aweek ago, ad­vo­cacy group Farmer Power launched a pe­ti­tion cam­paign call­ing for a vote to cut the dairy levy to zero.

Farmer Power vice-pres­i­dent Alex Robert­son said Dairy Aus­tralia had ef­fec­tively taken choice on in­dus­try ac­tions out of the hands of the farm­ers.

“(Dairy Aus­tralia) has con­tin­ued to levy over $30m per year from cash-strapped farm­ers in a sit­u­a­tion where many farm­ers are op­er­at­ing at a loss,” Mr Robert­son said.

“DA should have vol­un­teered a re­duced levy to help farm­ers out but in­stead it put a mea­gre $1m into a seem­ingly in­sult­ing Tac­tics for Tight Times cam­paign.”

Levy pay­ers who dis­agree with the de­ci­sion and are Group A mem­bers of Dairy Aus­tralia can lodge a pe­ti­tion with Dairy Aus­tralia within 75 days of the com­mit­tee’s no­ti­fi­ca­tion.

The pe­ti­tion should in­clude a pro­posal on what the rec­om­mended levy should be.

PHOTO: BEV LACEY

NO LEVY POLL: Dairy farm­ers will not get to vote on changes to the levy this year.

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