Coalition pledges $22m to dairy industry

Is Morrison's $22m promise too little, too late?


ADF says it's fantastic to see a "real plan" for the dairy industry, but producers not convinced it will fix things.

The Coalition has pledged $22 million for dairy, if re-elected, but producers skeptical it will solve their problems.

The Coalition has pledged $22 million for dairy, if re-elected, but producers skeptical it will solve their problems.

The Coalition has promised to appoint a dedicated Australian Competition and Consumer Commission "dairy specialist" if re-elected on May 18.

The announcement follows calls from some NSW dairy farmers for a Federal Dairy Commissioner with the powers of a royal commissioner.

The Prime Minister Scott Morrison promised a $22 million package including:

The pledge includes $10m to support dairy farmers investing in more energy efficient equipment to reduce energy costs through more energy efficient equipment, $8.1m to extend the Australian ACCC agriculture unit, a significant boost to the $2.7m outlined in the 2020 budget.

There was also $3m in grants to assist farmer groups to establish farm co-operatives and other collaborative business models, $500,000 to services body Dairy Australia to continue its financial and legal advice service to farmers, and to improve legal and financial literacy for contract negotiations with processors, and $300,000 to Australian Dairy Farmers to develop a real-time dairy-payment system and supply-chain information-sharing capacity using blockchain technology and $150,000 to develop with processors a simple standard form contract that incorporates requirements of the industry's mandatory code of conduct.

Mr Morrison said the message from dairy farmers around the country was clear: they were continuing to feel the pressure of low prices, an unfair market place, lack of information from the supply chain and high energy costs.

ADF president Terry Richardson said it was fantastic to see a real plan for the dairy industry that delivered on a number of key imperatives

"The Coalition has clearly listened to the concerns of the industry and we look forward to delivering on these projects if the Coalition is returned to government," he said.

Mr Richardson said the organisation was pleased with the commitment to ensure continued funding of the competition watchdog's agriculture unit.

"This is a timely and welcome announcement that will ensure the mandatory code of conduct is appropriately resourced, and the decision to appoint a dedicated dairy industry specialist within that unit is an important step in the process," he said.

But some dairy farmers have criticised the announcement.

Terara, NSW, dairy farmer Tim Cochrane was one a group of farmers who met with Opposition leader Bill Shorten on Wednesday and with Mr Morrison on Monday.

"They (the Coalition) still seem to be working with the structures that aren't working correctly," he said.

"I believe they're still going through the ADF structure that isn't working for farmers."

Mr Cochrane said the group was left disappointed after the meeting on Monday with no guarantees from the PM.

But he said he was pleased to hear from Mr Shorten on Wednesday that he would meet with them within 30 days of the election, if Labor was elected.

Other farmers took to Facebook to vent their frustration at what they saw as the Federal Government throwing more money at proposals that would not solve industry problems.

One questioned how it was going to solve the issues definitively, describing it as a buy for votes.

"This whole mess was never addressed in a timely manner," he said.

Another said it was "too little, too late".


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