MEDIA stories this week concerning Australian Dairy Farmers’ (ADF) involvement in a proposed 40 cents per litre levy on milk are inaccurate and grossly out of context.
ADF officially received this proposal from our Victorian state member, the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria (UDV) on Sunday 10 May 2020. Any previous interactions or knowledge regarding this proposal were subject to confidentiality, which we respected. We are extremely disappointed to now read that ADF allegedly did not act fast enough in assessing this proposal. ADF receives many proposals and ideas to help maintain a sustainable dairy industry. We appreciate the effort of anyone who takes an interest in our industry, and we assess the merits of all proposals.
ADF is a national organisation consisting of six state dairy farming organisations. It is our responsibility to consider the views of each state’s dairy industry, including their positions on regulation. This is an extremely complex and sensitive issue, which requires proper consideration by ADF and our members.
Since the introduction of discount milk in 2011, more than 1,500 Australian dairy farms have left the industry. We recognise the severity of this issue and are treating it as an urgent priority. ADF has a duty to investigate any and all policy scenarios that may have an impact on the dairy industry. This includes assessing options to inform market support measures, such as consideration of any proposal involving government-imposed levies.
Any criticism of ADF being slow to act on $1 milk is simply wrong. ADF has been at the centre of this debate since supermarket retailers introduced their discount milk marketing campaigns in 2011.
ADF and our state members played an integral role in urging retailers to increase the price of discount milk to $1.10 per litre with the full increase being passed back to farmers via their processor. Furthermore, in November 2019, ADF lodged a considerable submission to the Senate inquiry into the performance of Australia’s dairy industry and the profitability of Australian dairy farmers since deregulation in 2000 where, among other recommendations, we called on retailers to lift the price of generic branded milk to $1.50 per litre.
These matters should rightly be discussed between industry and government, and not through public debates of this nature.
Ashley Mackinnon, Public Affairs Manager
M: 0407 766 153