Review called to end milk price war
A REVIEW of the milk price index will be held to examine how well it meets the needs of farmers and processors.
Agricultural minister David Littleproud said the review was part of the Coalition Government's $579 million Dairy Support Package.
"I'm not convinced the index is working as well as it can for farmers so I want to know if that's the case and what can be done to make it better,” he said.
"The Milk Price Index was designed to help farmers easily access information which can help them make decisions.”
The aim of the index is to let farmers compare farm gate prices, to encourage competition among processors.
"The truth is we need farmers to enter their data into the index in order for it to work well,” Mr Littleproud said.
"Obviously, I can't force them but if there's something we can do to make that easier, we will.”
The index also shows export prices for cheese, butter, skim milk and whole milk powder.
"We'll go over the index's first six months to figure out how well it delivers price transparency and help dairy farmers understand market signals and run their business,” he said.
The review will run until April with a report due after Easter.
According to Maranoa Labor candidate Linda Little the Federal Government could do better for dairy farmers.
Ms Little said there were parallels between the dairy industry and the decline of car manufacturing in Australia.
"This government stood by and watched as the last of Australia's great vehicle manufacturers closed down in this country,” she said.
Ms Little said the same thing was happening with dairy farming.
"Before we know it we will be importing milk from overseas, all that Minister Littleproud can offer is to suggest that people don't buy from Coles and Aldi,” she said.
"Clearly that strategy is not working.”
Ms Little said the government should be doing more to support Australian farmers.
"The government should be standing shoulder to shoulder with farmers rather than sitting back and watching the industry collapse,” she said.
The Labor Party has promised to collaborate with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to recommend options for dairy industry regulation to guarantee the survival of dairy farmers.
This would include determining a minimum price that farmers are paid for their milk.