A Senate Inquiry may find out
Coles, Woolworths and major milk processors have been called on to appear before a public hearing in Canberra to explain the criteria they use to pay dairy farmers less for their milk than what it costs to produce.
Senator Susan McDonald has written to the two supermarket giants this week asking them to stop selling cheap milk and pay farmers a fair price.
Queensland Dairyfarmers' Organisation (QDO) President Brian Tessman said was great to see Senator McDonald and the LNP taking such an active role in sorting out the dairy industry.
"While we were able to get $1-a-litre milk removed from supermarket shelves earlier this year, that was not, and should never have been thought to be the end of it all," Mr Tessman said.
"Retailers have slipped through the net in being held accountable through the Mandatory Code of Conduct.
"They have a commercial and ethical responsibility to their suppliers and customers, to ensure fresh milk can be produced in Australia for years to come."
QDO has been working with NSW Farmers Association (NSWF) to ask Australian shoppers to push retailers to increase the minimum price for discount milk to $1.50/l.
In Queensland and northern NSW, farmers are likely looking at a cost-of-production (CoP) of around 72 cents/litre this year.
Taking on board CPI, dairy farmers need something between 72-76c/l to be making a decent living.
There will be regional variances to CoP, but as an average for farms producing for the domestic fresh milk market, these figures give a good indication of the state of play.
Mr Tessmann said Senator McDonald had clearly been speaking with our farmers and had a good handle on the state of the Queensland dairy industry.
"We'd like to thank her for taking the initiative and pushing ahead with this issue."