Dairy reps speak out against bill re­jec­tion

Central and North Burnett Times - - RURAL LIFE -

DIS­MISSAL of the Fair Milk Price Logo Bill by Queens­land Par­lia­ment’s Agri­cul­tural com­mit­tee has dairy farm­ers up in arms.

On April 13, the com­mit­tee is­sued its rec­om­men­da­tion to dis­miss the bill, ar­gu­ing such a pro­posal would be dif­fi­cult to im­ple­ment and im­pact com­pe­ti­tion from in­ter­state pro­duc­ers.

Queens­land Dairy­farm­ers Or­gan­i­sa­tion President Brian Tess­mann said the com­mit­tee were look­ing for ex­cuses not to pass the bill.

“The claim the lo­gos would be in breach of sec­tion 92 of the con­sti­tu­tion, the sec­tion that guar­an­tees free trade be­tween states, was an ex­ag­ger­a­tion of the high­est or­der,” Mr Tess­mann said.

“The Fair Milk Logo Bill would as­sist in iden­ti­fy­ing lo­cal prod­uct, not re­strict or im­pose any tar­iffs.”

In the com­mit­tee fore­word, Chair­man Joe Kelly said smaller farm­ers could use milk la­belling as a mar­ket­ing ad­van­tage with­out the need for leg­is­la­tion.

Mr Tess­mann took is­sue with the ar­gu­ment that leg­is­lated lo­gos would be seen as an ex­am­ple of re­strict­ing trade.

“The com­mit­tee’s re­jec­tion of the Fair Mark Logo Bill is the equiv­a­lent of ques­tion­ing the mer­its be­hind the ‘Made in Aus­tralia’ logo be­cause it would dis­crim­i­nate against im­ported goods.”

With this piece of state leg­is­la­tion seem­ingly fin­ished, and news of the Aus­tralian Com­pe­ti­tion and Con­sumer Com­mis­sion tak­ing ac­tion against Aus­tralia’s largest milk pro­ces­sor Mur­ray Goul­burn over al­le­ga­tions of mis­lead­ing farm­ers over price fore­casts, dairy farm­ers on the ground are caught in the mid­dle.

North Bur­nett Re­gional Coun­cil­lor and dairy farmer Rob­bie Radel said farm­ers would have to con­tinue ral­ly­ing against th­ese set­backs.

“Most of us are gen­er­a­tional farm­ers and will con­tinue to keep fight­ing the fight,” Cr Radel said.

“I don’t know if there’s a lot we can do ex­cept to keep knock­ing on doors and sup­port­ing the politi­cians who are pre­pared to have a go for re­gional Queens­land.”

PHOTO: CRAIG WARHURST

NO GO LOGO: The dis­missal of the dairy logo bill will see dairy farm­ers con­tinue to bat­tle.

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