JLN Independent Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie has welcomed Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce’s commitment to support a dairy levy after his meeting in Parliament with Victorian Dairy farmers.
“ I’m surprised that Deputy Prime Minister Joyce agreed to meet with Dairy farmers who support the rebel side of the argument (Farmer Power) during this milk crisis – and I’m also surprised that he told the farmers in their Canberra meeting that he’ll support a dairy levy if Labor also supported a dairy levy.
“However I’m pleased that it appears, the Turnbull Government has now significantly lessened their opposition to a 50c/l dairy levy and are inclined to support this commonsense proposal. If this is true - and all it requires for the government to support a milk levy is to get support from the majority of Crossbench Senators and the Labor party – then we are very close to saving Australia’s dairy industry.
I will write to Bill Shorten today and ask him for his support for a milk levy. Everyone knows now that our dairy industry is in crisis and is being destroyed by greedy multinationals who are still enjoying massive after-tax profits and forcing our farmers to sign questionable milk supply contracts.
And that is why we need to establish a Senate Inquiry to investigate Australia’s dairy crisis. Dairy Farmers Alex Robinson and Alan Symons who met with me after their meeting with Deputy PM Joyce - agree that a Senate Inquiry should be established. And I will be working hard to see that the Senate agree - through a motion at the next sitting of Parliament to establish a wide-ranging and thorough investigation of this dairy crisis.” said Senator Lambie.
Dairy Transcript – 02-09-2016
Jacqui Lambie: You dairy farmers have met with Barnaby Joyce and he has pretty much agreed to a 50c/L levy. Tell me what went on there?
Alan Symons: He was happy to put a levy on as long as it had support throughout Parliament. We thought he would poo-poo the idea, but he understands that that money would get back to the dairy farmer.
Jacqui Lambie: So if the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia wants a 50c/L levy, what’s stopping it?
Alan Symons: Barnaby pointed out he would like the support, needs the support of both Labor and probably the independents for it to go ahead. So we are hoping that the Labor government will come out and give its support so we can help dairy farmers right away.
Jacqui Lambie: So I am going to take the next step and I am going to ask Bill Shorten for the 50c/L levy – what do you think of that?
Alan Symons: That would be tremendous. If that could happen, the confidence it would build back into the dairy industry and back into the dairy farmer who is hurting so badly how, it might just give them a light at the end of the tunnel.
Jacqui Lambie: So the 50c/L levy is for the immediate fix, what else do we need in place?
Alan Symons: We need a Senate Inquiry to look right into the whole dairy industry. Right from Dairy Australia through the manufacturers. Some of the contracts that are getting written, that farmers are being forced into signing they have no option, needs to be looked into right through. The whole dairy industry from top to bottom needs to be looked at with a fine-toothed comb and the hard questions need to be asked. A Senate Inquiry again would put confidence back into the dairy industry.
Jacqui Lambie: That would keep a check on the Supermarkets wouldn’t it?
Alan Symons: Absolutely. They all need to be looked at under the microscope.
Jacqui Lambie: Is Barnaby’s ACCC inquiry good enough?
Alan Symons: The ACCC will only scratch the surface. We need a Senate Inquiry to ask the hard questions to get right through the dairy industry from top to bottom.
Jacqui Lambie: If we don’t address this issue properly and do it right away, what is going to happen?
Alan Symons: The dairy industry is in rapid decline now. If we don’t do something in the next two years we could be importing milk from New Zealand. We need to get this inquiry up and done straight away, along with the 50c/L levy, needs to be done to get money into the dairy farmers’ pockets straight away so then communities can grow again.
1.9.16 - Pic from Left to Right : Darryl Cardona (National Dairy Products) Alan Symons (Vic Dairy Farmer 0429229662) Senator Lambie, Alex Robinson (Vic Dairy Farmer - and Farmer Power Spokesperson 0407041009 )