Fair milk la­belling one step closer to re­al­ity

Central and North Burnett Times - - RURAL WEEKLY -

SHOP­PERS are one step closer to know­ing ex­actly where the milk they buy at the su­per­mar­ket comes from and how much the farmer was paid.

A pri­vate mem­ber’s bill, nick­named Fair Milk Price Lo­gos Bill, call­ing for clear la­belling on milk was pre­sented by Dal­rym­ple MP Shane Knuth to the Queens­land par­lia­ment in Oc­to­ber.

It was in­ves­ti­gated by a com­mit­tee and a re­port was due to be tabled in par­lia­ment this week.

If the bill be­came re­al­ity, shop­pers would know the re­gion where the milk was pro­duced and whether the dairy farmer who pro­duced it re­ceived a min­i­mum price.

It came af­ter a ma­jor com­mu­nity aware­ness cam­paign on the im­pacts of the $1 milk from su­per­mar­ket giants Coles and Woolworths in May last year, when brand milk flew off the shelves.

More than 95% of the milk pro­duced in Queens­land is con­sumed in Queens­land, yet the num­ber of dairy farm­ers was drop­ping fast.

An es­ti­mated 70 farm­ers exit the in­dus­try each year and the in­dus­try’s peak body blamed the bot­tom dol­lar prices.

The Queens­land Dairy­farm­ers’ Or­gan­i­sa­tion said the in­tro­duc­tion of the lo­gos would play a ma­jor role in of­fer­ing trans­parency for con­sumers, while help­ing strug­gling farm­ers.

In a for­mal sub­mis­sion on the bill, QDO pres­i­dent Brian Tess­mann blamed ma­jor re­tail­ers for driv­ing down the milk price.

“The im­pact of $1 per litre milk on the dairy in­dus­try in Queens­land has been ex­tremely neg­a­tive,” Mr Tess­mann said, in the sub­mis­sion.

“In 2010 be­fore $1/L milk was in­tro­duced there were 621 dairy farm­ers in Queens­land while to­day there are 429.

“In 2010 milk pro­duc­tion was 530ML while in 2015/16 it has fallen to 407ML largely due to $1/L milk.”

Adding the lo­gos to the bot­tles would be vol­un­tary.

PHOTO: KELLY MCILVENNY

FIGHT­ING BACK: A Bill was tabled in par­lia­ment aimed at en­light­en­ing con­sumers on where their milk comes from and if the farmer was paid fairly.

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