AN incoming federal Labor government would pursue pricing reform in Australia’s dairy industry, the opposition agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon told a Dairy Connect delegation in his Hunter electorate on Tuesday.
The delegation was in Cessnock to give the shadow minister a 2016 overview of challenges and opportunities in the dairy industry nationally.
At the meeting was past Dairy Connect president Adrian Drury of Taree, dairy farmer Shane Gee of Singleton, shadow federal agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon, Dairy Connect farmers group Graham Forbes of Gloucester and Dairy Connect chief executive officer Shaughn Morgan.
Dairy Connect chief executive officer Shaughn Morgan said the meeting discussed relationships along the dairy supply chain ranging from producers, through processors and vendors to consumers.
Joel Fitzgibbon said an incoming Labor government would convene a ‘Chatham House rules’ forum of industry stakeholders to achieve better price transparency and address retrospective cash clawbacks.
“Joel Fitzgibbon also agreed that a new Labor government would review pricing relationships and what reforms may assist in delivering a fairer farm gate price,” Shaughn Morgan said.
The plight of the dairy market has been on full display during recent weeks, with Barnaby Joyce rolling out rescue packages, farmers rallying in the streets and consumers switching from $1 per litre milk and backing the more expensive branded milk.
Around 80 per cent of Australia’s dairy producers were plunged into financial shock during May when industry giants Murray Goulburn and Fonterra slashed producer prices and claimed back the difference between the higher historic price and the new price.
The average debt loading for Victorian Murray Goulburn suppliers is believed to be around $120,000.
In NSW Murray Goulburn suppliers will find out their milk price following June 30.
In May a meeting was held for Murray Goulburn Co-operative suppliers at Taree racecourse.
Suppliers were informed due to a different pricing structure between the NSW and Victorian markets, NSW suppliers will not need to re-pay debt.