Labor trying to play catch up on dairy

20th February 2019

Labor’s failure to do anything meaningful for the dairy industry has been exposed after Bill Shorten and Joel Fitzgibbon issued a press release calling for things that have either taken place or currently underway.

“Their press release says all of absolutely nothing. They say they will refer milk pricing to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. They say they will support a mandatory code of conduct. This has all been done and the ACCC’s key recommendation was a mandatory code of conduct, which farmers have asked for and we are delivering on,” Dr Gillespie said.

“As the Member for Lyne, I have continued to advocate directly with the ACCC and Ministers about market failure not just in the dairy industry, but also other industries my constituents operate in, who have also suffered under competition law.”

Dr Gillespie said it appeared Bill Shorten and Joel Fitzgibbon had no idea of the problems bad competition policy can cause.

“The Nationals have been prosecuting the case for changes to competition law for years and Labor has failed to support us.”

“They obviously now know that dairy farmers are doing it tough because they heard it on the news, and so they issue a press release.

“I have spent a lot of time with many of my dairy farmers who have given me a very accurate picture of the contractual arrangements they have had to endure. Some of the processors who they sell their milk to have clearly not been interested in their long term viability, nor have the major supermarkets who have also not understood the significant damage they have inflicted on the industry with their pathetic $1-a-litre milk campaigns.

“The mandatory code of conduct which everyone has had an opportunity to help develop will provide a solid framework for the supply chain however it is going to take some time to work through the system when it comes into effect in the near future.”

“That is why I have been calling on the supermarkets and the processors to come to the party with measures that provide immediate relief for dairy farmers while a mandatory code of conduct is implemented and a fair dinkum milk price index can be established.”

“Having seen the positive response from Woolworths and the pathetic responses from Coles and Aldi, clearly there are some in this space who have no moral compass.”

Dr Gillespie said he was looking at options for a Private Members Bill to deal with corporate behaviour that fails the fairness test.

“I was hoping with a little pressure, the major supermarkets and the processors would all recognise the tough situation the dairy industry is in, particularly the producers, and taken steps to rectify some of the unsustainable farm gate prices they have offered.”

“I have never been one to advocate for government running the market, but where there is market failure, it is my view that we must intervene to make sure the market works for everyone.

ENDS

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