Landry takes on plight of struggling CQ dairy farmers
THE plight of struggling dairy farmers in Central Queensland will be stepped up in Canberra by Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry.
Ms Landry met this week with representatives from Capricornia's dairy industry to learn more about the impact on farmers caused by big supermarket chains slashing the price of generic milk brands.
Ms Landry said local dairy farmers warned that they could go to the wall due to price cutting by Coles and Woolworths.
"Between the increasing cost of production and price cutting on generic milk brands by the giant supermarkets, the local industry says it could be decimated within five years," Ms Landry said.
"Already many farmers have left the industry due to prices being forced down by supermarkets bidding to lure customers through their doors."
Ms Landry said that many Capricornia milk consumers might not realise that ridiculously low prices of one dollar for a litre of milk was unsustainable and came at a huge cost to milk producers struggling to cover the cost of production.
"Last year Coles and Woolworths appeared before a Senate inquiry into the milk price wars. But it still continues to cause our local farmers great hardship," she said.
Port Curtis Dairy Cooperative chairman Peter Woodland told Ms Landry during a meeting this week in Mackay that the number of local dairy farmers in Central Queensland had fallen X per cent in the past two years.
Ms Landry and her Federal colleagues George Christensen (Member for Dawson) and Ken O'Dowd (Member for Flynn) will invite Federal Agriculture Minister Barnarby Joyce to Central Queensland to discuss the issue.
"Maintaining viable food production industries such as milk in Central Queensland is important and the issue requires further consideration," Ms Landry said.
"Rockhampton still has one of the few milk processing facilities in this part of Queensland and it's important for local dairy farmers and industry workers to review the ongoing impact of the supermarket milk price wars on their livelihoods.
"We'd welcome a chance for the Federal Agricultural Minister to visit the region first hand."
Dairying is undertaken around Eungella, Milman and The Caves in the Capricornia electorate and other parts of Central Queensland.
"At this stage it's too early to say exactly what could be done, but Central Queensland dairy farmers and their workers need to know that we are listening," Ms Landry said.