Retailers need to own up and take responsibility for their role in the dairy crisis.
Senator Susan McDonald called on representatives of Coles, Woolworths and the major milk processors to appear before a public hearing in Canberra to explain the criteria they use to pay Queensland farmers less for their milk than what it costs to produce.
Sen. McDonald wrote to the two supermarket giants asking them to stop selling cheap milk and pay farmers a fair price.
Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation (QDO) President Brian Tessman said “It’s great to see Senator McDonald and the LNP taking such an active role in sorting out the dairy industry. While we were able to get $1/L milk removed from supermarket shelves earlier this year (2019), that was not, and should never have been thought to be the end of it all”.
“Retailers have slipped through the net in being held accountable through the Mandatory Code of Conduct. They have a commercial and ethical responsibility to their suppliers and customers, to ensure fresh milk can be produced in Australia for years to come” said Tessmann.
QDO has been working with the New South Wales Farmers Federation (NSWFF) to ask Australian shoppers to push retailers to increase the minimum price for discount milk to $1.50.
In Queensland and northern NSW, farmers are likely looking at a cost-of-production (CoP) of around 72 cents/litre this year (2019). Taking on board CPI, dairy farmers need something between 72-76 cents/litre to be making a decent living. There will be regional variances to CoP, but as an average for farms producing for the domestic fresh milk market, these figures give a good indication of the state of play.
Tessmann said, “Senator McDonald has clearly been speaking with our farmers and has a good handle on the state of the Queensland dairy industry. We’d like to thank her for taking the initiative and pushing ahead with this issue.”