In­quiry re­sult wel­comed

Shepparton News - Country News - - DAIRY -

The NSW Farm­ers As­so­ci­a­tion has wel­comed the find­ing that $1/litre milk is driv­ing the NSW dairy in­dus­try to break­ing point.

The NSW par­lia­men­tary in­quiry into the sus­tain­abil­ity of the dairy in­dus­try in NSW found that $1/litre milk had re­moved con­sid­er­able value from the sup­ply chain which had added to the fi­nan­cial pres­sure on dairy farm­ers.

‘‘Dairy farm­ers have long known the neg­a­tive im­pact that $1 per litre milk has had on our busi­nesses, and this has now been of­fi­cially recog­nised,’’ NSW Farm­ers’ dairy chair Erika Ch­esworth said.

‘‘This find­ing is vin­di­ca­tion for all dairy farm­ers that had their con­cerns dis­missed by the ACCC in­quiry,’’ she said.

‘‘Farm­ers have seen the value of their prod­uct di­min­ished through re­tailer dis­count­ing, with the re­tail price re­main­ing un­changed since 2011 de­spite ma­jor in­creases in farm costs.

‘‘For the dairy in­dus­try to be sus­tain­able, we need farm­ers to be paid a fair milk price to build re­silient busi­nesses that can sur­vive through pe­ri­ods of drought and other hard­ships.’’

The re­port also rec­om­mends the NSW Gov­ern­ment im­me­di­ately es­tab­lish and fund an in­de­pen­dent NSW Com­mis­sioner for Dairy.

NSW Farm­ers has been ad­vo­cat­ing for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a com­mis­sioner for agri­cul­ture to pro­vide in­de­pen­dent sup­port for farm­ers and to en­gage with re­tail­ers or pro­ces­sors on be­half of farm­ers.

‘‘This is the sec­ond up­per house in­quiry to rec­om­mend an in­de­pen­dent com­mis­sioner this year and it is time for the NSW Gov­ern­ment to act,’’ Ms Ch­esworth said.

‘‘The com­mis­sion is a clear so­lu­tion for the gov­ern­ment to as­sist in re­bal­anc­ing the mar­ket power that farm­ers deal with.

‘‘The com­mis­sioner should be across agri­cul­ture to en­sure that com­pe­ti­tion is­sues are ad­dressed prior to in­dus­tries reach­ing break­ing point, but the ini­tial fo­cus must be to ac­tion the is­sues iden­ti­fied in this in­quiry.

‘‘We thank the com­mit­tee for lis­ten­ing to dairy farm­ers and ac­knowl­edg­ing the detri­men­tal im­pact that re­tail­ers’ ac­tions and the power im­bal­ance be­tween in­dus­try par­tic­i­pants has on farm­ers.’’

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