MILK should be clearly labelled to indicate that farmers are getting a fair price for their product at the farm gate, according to a North Queensland MP.
Hill MP Shane Knuth said he would reintroduce Katter’s Australian Party’s Sustainable Queensland Dairy Production (Fair Milk Logo) Bill into Queensland Parliament in a bid to help the struggling dairy industry.
Mr Knuth has twice introduced the idea into parliament, in 2013 and again in 2016, but both times it was voted down.
He last week said that he would reintroduce the logo bill, which would be a voluntary scheme, where milk processors who bottle milk could put a ‘Fair Milk’ logo on bottles where they had paid farmers a fair price for the milk.
Mr Knuth said the LNP used their majority to reject the bill when it was first introduced in 2013.
“We reintroduced the bill again in 2016 but both the major parties voted against it,” Mr Knuth said.
“The result was more than a 100 dairy farmers lost their livelihoods.
“At the time there were more than 550 dairy farmers in Queensland and today the number is around 430.”
It comes after Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud announced his support for a 10 cent levy to be applied to milk prices following the launch of a petition by the Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation.
QDO is pushing for supermarkets to agree to a 10 cent a litre increase in all fresh milk prices – including $1 a litre house brand milk lines – to funnel much needed extra payments back into farmers’ withered budgets.
A 10c retail price rise could potentially add an extra $250 million a year to dairy farmer earnings.
Mr Knuth said the State LNP needed to throw their support behind dairy farmers when the logo bill is introduced a third time.
“The KAP’s proposal back in 2013 and again in 2016 would have achieved a long term outcome for the struggling industry,” he said.
‘We wanted to do this years ago, when it could have given dairy producers up to six years of a sustainable prices.
“Now they find themselves in an even more desperate situation.’’
Mr Knuth said any concerns consumers wouldn’t support the move to pay slightly more for milk were unfounded.
“The feedback I received in my electorate and the results of polling indicated consumers would pay more for milk if they knew farmers were receiving a fair price,’’ he said.
“The situation is now desperate, with the support now coming from members in the Federal Coalition, I’m hopeful both side recognise the critical necessity of this legislation.”