IN THE lead-up to the state election, dairy farmers are calling on all political parties to guarantee the commitment made earlier this year by the Queensland Government to fund Queensland Dairyfarmers' Organisation and develop its Fair Milk Logo scheme.
QDO president Brian Tessmann said if parties and candidates were "fair dinkum” about supporting the dairy industry in Queensland, then it was essential they commit to funding QDO to operate the scheme.
"Before the election the Labor Government announced this program and committed funding for QDO to deliver this project to benefit all Queensland dairy farmers,” Mr Tessmann said
"Unfortunately, due to election timing and the current caretaker government the final contract was not signed off. This leaves the future of the program in limbo.
"QDO firmly believe a Fair Milk Logo program is an essential component to guaranteeing the future of our industry in this state. Without political support the industry's future is compromised.”
The QDO also outlined its other major election priorities on behalf of the industry.
"As well as the Fair Milk Logo, securing the future of our industry through a series of measures to return fair returns for farmers is a major issue,” Mr Tessmann said.
"Industry and governments need to work together to identify concrete ways to fix the imbalance of power between dairy farmers, processors and retailers.
"We need a state government willing to stand up for its dairy farmers including pressing for federal legislative change.
"On-farm electricity prices too are hurting Queensland dairy farmers and must be addressed. Electricity prices for dairy farmers are three and a half times higher than they were eight years ago. This has made the cost of electricity virtually unaffordable for dairy farmers.
"QDO is asking parties to deliver a program that funds the state's dairy farmers to implement efficiencies for both irrigation and dairy sheds.
"This election QDO is calling on all parties to support dairy farmers in this state by committing to the Fair Milk Logo, committing to standing up for a fair milk prices and reduced electricity costs.”
Mr Tessmann said all dairy farmers used energy for milking and cooling milk.
Many also use it to power their irrigation infrastructure.
"For our local dairy industry to remain internationally competitive, the cost of this energy has to be slashed,” he said.
"To save our dairy industry's viability, the state and federal governments must fund programs that assist farmers to implement on-farm efficiencies or create their own renewable generation.
"The question most rural and regional advocacy groups has been asking for years now is how post-generation costs can be lowered to reduce the strain on farmers and their businesses.
"It seems clear the federal and state governments have no interest in addressing this issue no matter what options are put to them. The result has led to more consumers, including proactive farmers, looking to generate their own renewable power, with some considering in-party or going off the grid entirely.”
Although going off-grid is a solution Mr Tessmann said it is still untenable for farmers who deal with unsustainable prices.
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