A MILK price index designed to give greater transparency on farmgate milk prices has hit a snag, after the Federal Government and its contractor walked away from a deal to deliver the index early this year.
By: KATH SULLIVAN
Source: The Weekly Times
The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources this week confirmed the “contract in place to deliver the commodity milk price index was terminated by mutual agreement”.
A department spokesman said it would present new options to the minister about how to deliver greater transparency on the milk price.
The index was promised as part of the Government’s $579 million dairy support package following price cuts by Murray Goulburn and Fonterra that plunged dairy farmers into crisis.
Last November the Government announced that Webber Quantitative Consulting had won the tender and the index was expected to be up and running early this year.
About $2 million was set aside for the index.
“The department will put options to the Minister for Agriculture on the best way forward to deliver on the Government’s commitment to achieve greater transparency and market signals in domestic and global milk prices, in accordance with the advice received from industry … the options will include the commodity milk price index.” a spokesman told The Weekly Times.
A spokesman for Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the minister had last week met with dairy farmers and leaders lending support for the index.
“The Government is committed to working with industry to deliver the index to provide dairy farmers with extra information to help them plan and risk manage their businesses,” the spokesman said.
“The minister is encouraged by the positive approach of dairy farmers to rebuild from recent challenges.”