Dairy farmers call for fair mark on milk
REGIONAL Queenslanders will lose access to fresh milk if the pricing war and intangible transport costs are not addressed soon, a life-long dairy farmer has warned.
The Agriculture, Resources and Environment Parliamentary Committee is examining a milk pricing bill Katter's Australian Party MP Shane Knuth introduced amid the supermarket milk price war.
Dairy farmers and industry heads fronted the Committee at Parliament House on Wednesday11/9 to have their say on a proposal to place a fair mark on all milk sold in Queensland where the farmer is paid at least 8 cents per litre above production costs.
Harrisville dairy farmer Ross McInnes revealed the financial struggles plaguing many Queensland farmers.
After Coles lowered the price of milk to a dollar per litre in January, 2011, Ms McInnes said he saw the impact six months on when his milk price decreased by 3.5 cents.
While his contract has since increased by about 0.5 cents, logistic charges are hurting other milk suppliers.
"The fact is, as this squeeze goes on I think the first thing that will happen in the far flung regional areas of Queensland, I don't know whether fresh milk will able to be delivered," he told the committee.
"The cost of delivering milk to those far flung areas will just make it intangible, I think.
"Queenslanders will not have fresh milk if this doesn't get sorted out shortly."
Queensland Dairy Farmers' Organisation chief executive officer Adrian Peake conceded while a fair milk mark was not the "silver bullet", feedback showed it could gain consumer support.
"If we can get it started and promote with the consumers, I hope that section of the community would drive it," he said.
Would you pay extra for fair mark milk?
This poll ended on 18 September 2013.
Yes, the farmers are doing it tough and deserve more.
No, I won't pay more than $1 for my milk.
I'm not sure. I need more information.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.