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20 August, 2020

Is a cheap bottle of milk really worth it?

Is a cheap bottle of milk really good value? Not if it contributes to the death of an essential industry here in North Queensland and eventually leads to us having to import milk from overseas.

By Peter McCullagh

Member for Hill Shane Knuth, KAP Queensland Leader, Robbie Katter and KAP Candidate for Cook, Tanika Parker all toasting the Dairy Farmers with a glass of milk

Member for Hill, Shane Knuth yesterday outlined the sad plight facing us here in the north with regard to our dairy farms.

“Back in the year 2000 we had over 1500 dairy farmers, now we are just below 300 and if this current trend continues by the year 2027 we will not gave one dairy farmer in Queensland.” Stated Knuth.

In 2016 Knuth introduced to Queensland parliament a bill to legislate for a “Fair Milk Logo” to indicate that the milk producer was paid a fair price at the farmgate for their milk. Such a mark would provide confidence to the consumer and also promote ethical and fair relationships within the industry.

This bill was overturned by both major parties, however the minister of the day did recognise the importance of the proposed “Fair Milk Logo” and provided funding for the initial development of the logo.

The launch of the Queensland Dairy Organisation's  “Fair Go Milk Logo” was planned for March 2020, however the ACCC had received objections against the introduction of the logo, so it was delayed until October 2020 or early 2021.

KAP Leader in Queensland, Robbie Katter was spirited in his defence of the industry.

“We’ll keep fighting for the farmers, we need greater food security, it’s time to act now, not in five years’ time when we don’t have a dairy farming industry.”

Woolworths was approached today regarding the comments that the major supermarkets has complained to the ACCC to blocked the launch of the “Fair Go Milk Logo”.

A Woolworth’s spokesperson stated, “We haven't objected to the logo or initiative to the ACCC or any other public body, so the claim is without basis.

 In June, we announced the extension of our 10 cent per litre dairy levy for another 12 months and our intent to launch a $5M dairy fund by the end of the year.

The dairy levy has now contributed more than $54 million to more than 450 dairy farmers.

Member for Hill Shane Knuth said "That’s great that Woolies claim they didn't make the complaint to the ACCC. If that’s true then they should have absolutely no problems in working closely with QDO to have the Fair Go logo on ALL milk they sell in their supermarkets across the state."

Katter’s Australian Party Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter has today welcomed claims by Woolworths that it has lodged no formal concerns with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission over Queensland Dairy Organisation’s “Fair Go” milk logo scheme.

“It is great news to hear today that Woolworths have reported in the media that they have made no complaints to the ACCC about this scheme,” Mr Katter said.

“If this is true then they, along with Coles, should have absolutely no problems in working closely with QDO to have the logos on the milk brands they sell in their supermarkets that pay a fair price to farmers.”

Woolworths’ comments to the Far North Queensland newspaper followed lobbying by Mr Katter, Member for Hill Shane Knuth and KAP candidate for Cook Tanika Parker yesterday on behalf of the state’s dairy farmers.

In Cairns yesterday, the KAP raised concerns about major supermarkets campaigning against the QDO scheme, which is designed to help customers identify which milk brands pay a fair price per litre to dairy farmers.

“The KAP, through Shane, introduced into the Queensland Parliament a Fair Milk Mark Bill in 2013 and a Fair Milk Logo Bill in 2016 that would identify with a logo the milk brands that are sold in supermarkets, which pay a fair price to dairy farmers - this was rejected by the LNP and Labor at the time,” Mr Katter said. 

“However, the current Labor State Government acknowledged that it was a good idea and provided $700,000 to QDO to design and launch the “Fair Go” logo.

“We are very relieved that this is not the case, and expect that both Woolworths and Coles will do what they can support QDO to get the scheme up-and-running.”

The KAP have also called for both Labor and the LNP to commit to the proposal for $1.5 million funding over five years to market and advertise the “Fair Go” logo to all Queenslanders.


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