THE Labor Party says it will consider the appointment of a dairy commissioner if it wins the federal election following lobbying from industry advocacy group, Dairy Connect.
Dairy Connect has called for the appointment of a dairy commissioner and supporting agency to work as a conduit between industry and relevant ministers and the parliament on issues affecting the dairy industry.
Dairy Connect chief executive officer Shaughn Morgan said dairy producers required “strengthened external support” in their dealings with Government.
“The dairy industry is seeking resolutions to many of the issues confronting it: the ongoing devastating impact of the drought, increasing energy prices, high fodder costs, unfair and unconscionable milk supply agreements, implementation of the mandatory code, dairy cabinet prices that are way too low, imported cheese being dumped on Australian market — in general, market failure needing urgent structural reform,” Mr Morgan said.
“A federal dairy commissioner would provide a conduit to relevant ministers and the federal parliament on issues that continue to be raised by the dairy industry on a regular and ongoing basis,” he said.
Earlier this year Labor committed to implementing a mandatory code of conduct and a “minimum farm gate milk price” akin to a floor price for dairy returns, designed to help guarantee farmers a living wage.
This week a Labor spokesman said if elected, it would ask the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to “test, assess and shape” the minimum price proposal and consider the merits of an independent dairy commissioner.
The spokesman said Australia’s dairy sector was in crisis, and both regulatory and structural reform was necessary.
Last month the Government announced progress on the drafting of regulations within the mandatory code of conduct including a ban on retrospective price cuts to dairy farmers.