Libs and Labor trade blows of milk price floor

Zach RelphCountryman
David Littleproud and Joel Fitzgibbon went head-to-head at the National Press Club.
Camera IconDavid Littleproud and Joel Fitzgibbon went head-to-head at the National Press Club. Credit: TheWest

The Federal Agriculture Minister and the man aspiring to dethrone him have locked horns on the future of Australia’s dairy industry, championing their respective plans to protect embattled farmers.

At today’s Agricultural Leaders’ Debate, David Littleproud traded blows with shadow agriculture minister Joel Fitzgibbon about Labor’s proposed minimum farmgate milk price.

Mr Fitzgibbon told delegates at the National Press Club event in Canberra a minimum milk price was key to shore up dairy farmers’ survival.

“We are losing our dairy industry,” he said.

“If we don’t do something about it, we won’t have a dairy industry in this country.”

Labor is proposing an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission-led investigation to establish a minimum farmgate milk price, if elected at the May 18 election.

The plan would be implemented alongside a mandatory code of conduct.

Mr Littleproud rubbished Mr Fitzgibbon’s milk price floor strategy and said supermarkets had a crucial role to play in improving dairy farmers’ returns.

The debate comes after agribusiness financial firm Rabobank last month projected “another wave” of embattled Australian milk farmers to walk away from the industry.

Rabobank senior dairy analyst Michael Harvey forecast milk suppliers could vacate the sector during the season ahead amid increasing feed costs and rising herd culling.

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