THE North Queensland dairy industry has wished Queensland Agriculture Minister Mark Furner godspeed as he heads to Moree for the Agriculture Ministers Forum meeting this week.
Tablelands Mayor Joe Paronella said he welcomed Mr Furner's commitment to discuss the dairy crisis at AgMin with other state ministers and federal Agriculture Minister Senator Bridget McKenzie.
Dairy farmers, industry representatives, the chambers of commerce and councillors met with Mr Furner in Atherton last week to explain what the loss of the dairy industry would mean to the region.
"We appreciated the opportunity to present their first-hand account of the crisis our farmers are in, and the devastation that will be inflicted on our towns should the local industry collapse," Cr Paronella said.
Plenty of people are talking about this crisis and we urgently need for this talk to translate into direct action.
"We wish our Queensland Minister Mark Furner godspeed with these discussions, as without unilateral support by the state and federal politicians to tackle this issue head on, I fear the consequences.
"Plenty of people are talking about this crisis and we urgently need for this talk to translate into direct action, with a fair price being delivered to farmers for the quality product they produce."
Cr Paronella said it was gut wrenching to know the heart and soul of farming communities and towns was being treated with contempt by Coles and Woolworths.
"All we ask is that the retailers sell milk at an appropriate price at the checkouts and that a fair share of the increased cost of milk be passed back to farmers to cover their cost of production," he said.
Cr Paronella said he was confident that consumers would pay a higher price for milk if they knew that more dollars were going back to farmers and not to the bottom line of the supermarket giants.
"We encourage all Queenslanders to send a very clear message to Coles and Woolworths by supporting Senator Susan McDonald's Fair Go For Dairy Farmers campaign," Cr Paronella said.
Senator McDonald said it was unacceptable that farmers were locked into selling milk for less than it cost to produce.
"Eight years of milk price wars has allowed supermarkets and processors ... to engage in disgraceful conduct that is hurting farmers, their families and the regions they live in," Senator McDonald said.
"Coles and Woolworths need to do the right thing and end this ridiculous milk price. Consumers have indicated they will pay more for milk so that farmers can stay afloat. I say, listen to them and raise your prices now."
Senator McDonald said the Morrison Government was currently finalising the Australian Dairy Plan, which aimed to prevent unscrupulous supply agreements that locked farmers into selling milk for less than it costs to produce.
The Australian Dairy Plan is currently in draft form and is scheduled for release in March.