QUEENSLAND dairy farmers have backed National Party calls for a Royal Commission into the practices of supermarkets over milk pricing.
Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation vice president Matt Trace said the supermarkets had had a crippling effect on the dairy industry for the past eight years.
“It is time for this to be fixed,” Mr Trace said.
“Although supermarkets have responded in part to the QDO calls for a 10c drought levy they have not gone far enough.
“It is still unclear if any of the money collected by Coles will go to the farmers who supplied that milk.”
Mr Trace said farmers expected that a royal Commission into supermarkets will shed light on the practices of supermarkets against their suppliers and solve the retail problem of the dairy industry once and for all,” said QDO Vice President Matt Trace.
“We applaud Llew O’Brien (LNP Wide Bay) for leading this call supported by his federal colleagues,” he said.
LNP Opposition Agriculture Tony Perrett said it was time Queenslanders received answers.
“Enough is enough,” Mr Perrett said. “It is time for a royal commission into how the supermarket giants are milking the system and squeezing our dairy farmers.
“What we have seen happen to Queensland’s dairy industry is a national disgrace and it’s time to find out who is responsible.
“It’s time for these supermarket ‘bastards’ to come out from behind their glossy spin doctors and face the tough questions.
“The public and our farmers deserve answers on how the race for corporate profits through the $1/litre milk price has forced out 75 per cent of Queensland’s dairy farmers in the last 18 years - from more than 1500 to just 386 dairy farms in the state.
“In Queensland a dairy farmer is leaving the industry approximately every five to seven days due to the behaviour of the supermarkets.
“Let’s be very clear, our dairy farmers are not shutting down because of a drop in demand. Queenslanders drink 84 litres of fresh white milk per person per year – they are closing because they are getting as much for their milk now as they were in 1992.”
Mr Perrett said the Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation had led a proactive campaign for a very reasonable 10c per litre drought milk levy.
“But all the supermarkets served up in reply to public pressure were half-baked measures to plug their own already unfairly price home brand products,” he said.
“Buying supermarket private label milk, even packaged with the drought levy, is worth less to dairy farmers than branded milk.
“Clearly public and political pressure are not enough. Year after year the supermarkets have not budged – but that time is now over.
“The Queensland Liberal National Party completely support a royal commission into the major supermarkets and finally getting answers from those responsible for this mess.”