The Member for Mount Isa Robbie Katter said the defeat of a critical Fair Price Milk Bill in Parliament this week was a shattering blow for dairy farmers throughout the State who are being held to ransom and driven into bankruptcy by Coles and Woolworths.
“This Bill, put forward by my colleague and the Member for Dalrymple Shane Knuth and with significant support from the dairy industry, would have helped deliver a meagre additional 8c a litre into the dairy farmers’ pockets.”
Mr Katter declared the vote signalled the death of the National Party in Queensland, that the LNP had been swallowed by the destructive force of “free market Liberalism”, and the Labor Party had shamefully played politics over people.
“A genuine National Party influence in the Parliament would have supported this Bill because they used to care about people on the land and our primary industries.
“This Bill was to provide a ‘fair milk mark’ on each milk bottle so it clearly identifies that the farmers have been paid a fair price.
“What this means is a consumer could go into the local corner store or Coles and Woolworths and when they see the fair milk mark label they know it’s fresh milk, Queensland milk, and farmers are being paid a fair price,” said Mr Katter.
The Bill was defeated amidst some heated exchanges in Parliament, and had the strong support of respected Independents MPs Liz Cunningham (Gladstone) and Peter Wellington (Nicklin), along with his Katter’s Australian Party colleagues.
Mr Katter said the Labor Opposition voted against the Bill without even entering the debate.
“This is despite the fact that the Queensland Dairy Organisation – the industry’s leading representative body – overwhelmingly supported the Bill.
“It was simply politics over people. They would rather vote against the minority members in Parliament on principle and not examine the positive elements of the Bill which would help those dairy farmers and our dairy industry,” he said.
Mr Katter praised the Member for Gladstone, Liz Cunningham, who said in her support of the Bill: “I believe that overwhelmingly Queenslanders would welcome an opportunity to ensure that our primary producers received a fair price for the commodity that they produce—in this instance, milk.”
“I believe that, like Ms Cunningham, there are some families who would find it difficult to pay a slightly higher price for a local product.
“But we agree there are a huge number of people—a huge number of families—who would pay a small price increase for a product where they knew the dairy farmer was being paid fairly for the work they do.
“The sad part about it is that in the year 2000 there were 1500 dairy farmers, and now there are 496 – an alarming decline,” Mr Katter said.
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With our current population at 23 Million, in 2000 we were 18 Million, one could be forgiven for thinking more cows are needed to meet the increase to domestic milk product demand, well you would be wrong. Government opened the flood gates to imported milk products and has thrown our dairy farmers to the wolves.
As Robbie Katter has revealed in Queensland from 2000 until today two thirds of that states dairy farms have closed with the majority of the prime dairy cows being slaughtered, families bankrupted and the remaining 496 perched on the slippery slide to extinction.
This is what you get when unaccountable governments are run by a team of Oil Can Harry’s, all feathering their own nest while the farming industry is being shut down.
What will awaken our population high on the well entrenched political drug “Party Faithful” this illicit concoction of bullshit and promises keeping the inmates quite?