Farmers need more from retailers, not consumers
There is no doubting the impact that the severe drought on the east coast is having on farming, but there are also areas in WA that are struggling to maintain pasture levels.
In a country the size of ours there are always areas that are being impacted upon by climatic extremes and in many respects that is part of the cycle of living in this place.
Given the traditional resilience of those who live on the land, it is surprising that there is a call from the dairy industry for the introduction of a milk tax that would see consumers paying an extra 10 cents per litre for milk with the money generated going to support dairy farmers.
This plan is seen partly as a way of helping dairy farmers who are in drought and partly aimed at propping up an industry that is held to ransom by processors and the food chains who were selling milk ridiculously cheap which meant the returns to growers was severely impacted on.
I can understand that the agricultural industry has been doing it tough in some parts but to be fair we have all dipped in our pockets in one way shape or form in recent times to make donations of cash or kind to help this particular industry out.
I find it a little ironic that this latest tax proposal which is gaining some traction and the support of the Federal Minister and local National politicians is getting the support that it is.
It wasn’t that long ago that the McGowan Government moved to propose a tax on the gold industry to help alleviate soaring State debt levels.
You would have thought that someone’s throat had just been cut such was the wailing that went on from the gold industry and the conservatives in opposition, but this milk tax is not that much different.
It is a sorry indictment when parts of our community propose new taxing regimes that hit the consumer in their wallet when these same consumers are in a pay rise drought that has seen their earnings stagnate over the past two years.
Rather than plundering our wallets, the dairy industry needs to look in its own backyard first by developing more proactive business plans and getting their mates in government to lean on the processors and retailers to ensure a more equitable and economically viable approach.
The economics of industry are tough but sometimes you just have to tough it out and that is what should be happening here.