Minister to meet with dairy farmers next week

QUEENSLAND Agriculture Minister Leanne Donaldson said she will be meeting with Queensland dairy farmers on Monday to discuss the current price issues and concerns within the industry.

"My department is in close contact with our dairy farmers and I am well aware of the issue of milk prices and the problems it is causing for dairy farmers," Ms Donaldson said.

"At the Agriculture Ministers meeting last week in New Zealand I had the opportunity to discuss the current issues facing the industry.

"I spoke with the Ministers from Victoria and South Australia and others about the crisis and their response and I will continue to keep a close eye on developments."

She said the state government has no role in the setting of farm gate prices and it is the responsibility of suppliers and processors.

"There are no existing legislative provisions that would enable the government to intervene in milk marketing," she said.

Shadow Minister for Agriculture Dale Last said while the Minister was correct that there were no legislative provisions, the government could lobby the industry.

"There's nothing to stop us contacting Woolworths and Coles to lobby them," Mr Last said.

"To get them to reconsider their decision to sell milk at discounted prices."

Mr Last said he will speak at a rally calling for action on Wednesday, organised by North Burnett farmer Robbie Radel

"My message to dairy farmers is I'm 100 per cent behind them with their push to have increased prices for their milk," he said.

The Victorian Government recently announced a mental health initiative to help farmers struggling in the dairy industry.

Ms Donaldson said Queensland already had a similar service.

"The Queensland Government helps to fund the Rural Financial Counselling Service (RFCS), which provides free rural financial counselling to farmers suffering financial hardship," she said.

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