Kat­ter’s col­lec­tive milk bar­gain call

Townsville Bulletin - - Investor -

I NDE­PEN­DENT MP Bob Kat­ter wants to give dairy farm­ers the right to col­lec­tively bar­gain farm milk prices with su­per­mar­ket gi­ants Co les and Wool - worths.

Mr Kat­ter, the fed­eral MP for Kennedy, said he would draft leg­is­la­tion to pro­vide dairy farm­ers with the right to col­lec­tively bar­gain in the same way as wage earn­ers cov­ered by awards were al­lowed to bar­gain with their em­ployer.

‘‘ Both sides of pol­i­tics will be ex­posed for the hyp­ocrites they are if they don’t back this leg­is­la­tion,’’ Mr Kat­ter said. ‘‘ The ALP won gov­ern­ment on the right to col­lec- tively bar­gain through an ar­bi­tra­tion com­mis­sion ( called) Fair Work Aus­tralia.

‘‘ The Na­tional Party, which pulled the trig­ger of dereg­u­la­tion that as­sas­si­nated the dairy in­dus­try, are al­ready arch-hyp­ocrites parad­ing them­selves as a farm­ers’ party but they’re ac­tu­ally the anti-farm­ers’ party, hav­ing dereg­u­lated ev­ery­thing up to the eye­balls.’’

Mr Kat­ter said when five or six thou­sand dairy farm­ers ne­go­ti­ated against two buy­ers con­trol­ling 85 per cent of Aus­tralia’s food mar­ket there would not be an eco­nomic book that would not de­scribe that as an oli­gop­oly and any­thing but a free mar­ket.

‘‘ When the dairy in­dus­try was dereg­u­lated on July 1, 2000, farm­ers’ in­comes were cut on the day by more than 30 per cent, while the price to con­sumers within two years went up nearly 40 per cent,’’ he said.

‘‘ This great tragedy ex­posed t he over­whelm­ing num­ber of par­lia­men­tar­i­ans who were ra­bid free traders, shame­fully maybe even more in the La­bor Party than in the Coali­tion.’’

Bob Kat­ter

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