Monday, 18 February 2019

LABOR ACTS: FAIR GO FOR FRESH FOOD AND DAIRY

A Daley Labor Government elected in March will stamp out unfair practices in fresh food and dairy to give farmers and producers a fair go.

Daley Labor’s announcement comes in response to two parliamentary inquiries and calls by organisations such as Dairy Connect and NSW Farmers who have cited the supermarket “milk wars” and other unsustainable and unfair practices that have plunged the industry into crisis.

NSW Labor Leader Michael Daley would compel the negotiation of fair and sustainable prices, name and shame businesses that engage in unfair practices, ensure workers are not exploited and open the supply chain to transparency.

The Berejiklian Government has failed to protect dairy farmers and fresh food producers who have been pushed to wall by big businesses with too much market power.

Mr Daley said he believes in a local, productive farming industry and understands the benefits of locally grown produce for local jobs, the environment and community health.

“The Berejiklian Government is splurging $2.2 billion on stadiums and sitting on its hands while our fresh food producers and dairy farmers get a raw deal. It is more evidence the Liberals and Nationals in NSW have put big business and powerful interests first.”

“I will lead a Labor Government that puts everyday people first. That’s why helping struggling dairy farmers and fresh food producers is a no-brainer. It’s about restoring balance and giving farmers, farm workers and consumers a fair go.”

Daley Labor would achieve this by establishing a powerful Dairy and Fresh Food Pricing Advocate with a dedicated unit to investigate and report on contracts and prices across the dairy and fresh food supply chain.

The Advocate would also work on recommendations stemming from recent Parliamentary inquiries, including:

  • work with Commonwealth and industry bodies to ensure that the Mandatory Code of Conduct is implemented as a matter of urgency,
  • investigate ways to provide better access to the Farm Innovation Fund, and
  • work with universities to find opportunities for collaboration and research.

The Advocate would also identify other areas in the primary industries sector where there is market abuse and unfair contractual arrangements.

“Our farmers are already doing it tough with the devastating effects of this drought,” Mr Daley said.

A NSW Parliamentary inquiry into the dairy industry has heard current farm-gate price for milk is not covering production costs.

NSW Labor Leader Michael Daley said the Advocate would also work with the sector to find opportunities for collective or co-operative arrangements between producers, processors, wholesalers and big retailers.

“The drought has put more pressure on farmers than ever, especially dairy and fresh food farmers. Electricity prices are through the roof, and fodder is getting more expensive and harder to find,” Shadow Minister for Primary Industry Mick Veitch said.

“Yet farmers have limited bargaining power in the market and the more perishable the product, the less bargaining power you have.”

“Daley Labor will give farmers, producers and workers in fresh food and dairy a fair go.”

The unit’s first task would be to engage with all stakeholders to determine priorities, legislative requirements and resourcing beyond the next financial year.


BILL SHORTEN MP

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS AND ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDERS

MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG

 

JOEL FITZGIBBON MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY

SHADOW MINISTER FOR RURAL AND REGIONAL AUSTRALIA

SPOKESPERSON FOR COUNTRY CAUCUS

MEMBER FOR HUNTER

LABOR WILL INVESTIGATE A FLOOR PRICE FOR DAIRY FARMERS

Our dairy farmers are caught in a long-running cost-price squeeze that is being compounded by drought and Morrison Government inaction.

Labor believes Government intervention is needed to save our dairy sector and our dairy farmers.

A Shorten Labor Government will task the ACCC with testing the efficacy of a Minimum Farm Gate Milk Price and to make recommendations on the best design options.

It is not acceptable for our farmers to be paid less than the cost of producing their milk. If a floor price is needed to end this crisis, that’s what Labor will deliver.

If Australia wants a thriving dairy industry, leaders must act. Business as usual needs to end, and directing the ACCC to assess, test and design a floor price is an important first step in giving our dairy farmers a fair go.

The Liberals and Nationals talk a big game in Canberra, but they’ve nothing to help our dairy farmers and refuse to intervene in the market.

Labor will also establish a mandatory Dairy Code of Conduct to ensure the dairy market is functioning fairly for all participants. 

The Coalition Government has had more than five years to implement a Code of Conduct and has failed. In Senate estimates yesterday the Morrison Government admitted it has kicked the Mandatory Code down the road to July 1, 2020. Labor will make a Mandatory Code a priority.

Labor’s Farm Productivity and Sustainable Profitability Plan will also include a focus on farm extension to ensure our farmers have access to the latest productivity enhancing innovation.

Australia’s $4 billion dairy farming industry supports more than 5,500 farming families and creates around 42,500 jobs. It is also a key exporter of quality Australian dairy product.

 WEDNESDAY, 20 FEBRUARY 2019