Dairy crisis draws pledge for farmer advocate 

NSW Farmers’ Association has welcomed the commitment from the NSW Liberals and Nationals to address market failures within the dairy industry and support dairy farmers in NSW through a severely challenging time. 

Today the NSW Liberals and Nationals have committed to appointing a Fresh Milk and Dairy Advocate within the Department of Primary Industries, with the first order of business to establish and co-ordinate a fresh milk crisis taskforce. 

NSW Farmers’ Dairy Committee Chair Erika Chesworth said the announcement was clear recognition that decisive action is needed to save the NSW dairy industry. 

“NSW dairy farmers have not received a fair price for many years, with market conditions and industry structures working against us. The ongoing drought has starkly demonstrated the lack of resilience within our dairy enterprises,” Ms Chesworth said. 

“Milk production has plummeted 11 per cent over the last 12 months. The industry needs immediate change as the status quo is simply not sustainable, especially for farmers.” 

“Farmers have no control over the value generated through the industry and we have had to watch our fresh product devalued through irrational pricing from the retailers. Farmers are operating below the cost of production and without significant action farmers cannot keep going.”

Ms Chesworth said the commitment recognises the role of government to facilitate the growth and resilience of the NSW dairy industry via targeted support and investment. 

“We particularly welcome the commitment to develop a “buy local fresh milk” marketing campaign with industry. NSW dairy farmers produce the freshest and highest quality milk and it is time we sold this story to our community.”

“We look forward to working with the Advocate to get change for dairy farmers in NSW that will make a real difference.”

NSW Farmers has also backed the call for processors, retailers and consumers to support NSW dairy farmers and pay a fair price for fresh milk. 

“Large processors and supermarkets, like Coles and Aldi, have squeezed dairy farmers to the edge of existence.”

“Now is the time to end $1 litre milk. Fresh milk must be valued fairly to recognise the skill and effort that farmers put into producing it.

Date: Thursday 14 March 2019
Media Contact:   Michael Burt  | 0428 228 988