Over the past few weeks, dairy farmers have been used as a political football as all parties test the waters of public sentiment in the lead up to the Queensland election.
None of their rhetoric has actually helped dairy farmers; instead, it has caused unnecessary division in the industry. We have asked all political parties to help dairy farmers in these extremely challenging times due to an insidious drought that has yet to break.
How? The best way for the government to help Queensland dairy farmers is to immediately lift drought payments as NSW did in December. NSW dairy farmers are able to obtain $50,000 for freight subsidies when many dairy farmers in Qld can only obtain $20,000.
QDO has been very patiently waiting for the Qld state government to respond and has discussed this on many occasions with the appropriate representatives. Despite how obvious the need for this assistance is, we have heard nothing to suggest that Qld will match NSW.
Drought is having a much bigger impact on dairy farmers in Queensland than in any other state. The reductions in production over the past few years have been twice as much in Qld, as NSW has far greater herd sizes than any other state.
And yet farmers in NSW get much more support than Qld farmers do. It just doesn't seem right.
The NSW government recognises the severity of the drought and has twice taken major steps to assist the dairy farmers in their state. To date, the Qld government has done nothing to recognise how catastrophically the drought is affecting our industry or to help get us through it.
So I ask the Qld government to show that it truly cares about our dairy farmers and value what they do by at least matching what NSW has done. Fire affected farmers in NSW and Vic have received the same funding as North Qld flood victims last year. So when it comes to drought freight subsidies, why shouldn't Qld dairy get what NSW farmers can?