“Root cause” of dairy crisis needs to be tackled if farming businesses are to remain healthy in the long term: Industry

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Dairy farmers have welcomed the Victorian government’s million-dollar assistance package in the wake of falling milk prices, but say more needs to be done to tackle financial and emotional distress in the long-term.

On Friday, the state government announced $1.5 million will go towards extra counselling services, mental health training and community grants for farmers affected by the milk crisis.

Premier Daniel Andrews said in a statement he has also convened an industry taskforce which will report back to government shortly.

“We’re putting farmers and their families first by providing them with the support they need to look after themselves and each other,” Andrews said.

“Victorian dairy farmers produce world class produce that we’re proud of. Farmers are resilient and proud people, but we know that even the most resilient need support during these difficult times for the dairy sector.”

Australian Dairy Farmers has welcomed the funding announcement but is calling on a bipartisan approach that moves beyond “short term” concerns.

This includes working with the competition watchdog to find a better balance between the needs of farmers and retailers, along with major financial institutions to ensure dairy farmers are treated fairly during tough times.

Industry groups have been meeting with the federal government and a support package from Canberra is expected to be announced shortly.

Peter Strong, chief executive of the Council of Small Business of Australia, told SmartCompany the federal government needs to act to reduce the impact of the supermarket duopoly through smart policy instead of announcing a temporary repair job.

“Let’s get back top the root cause,” Strong says.

“They [politicians] have ignored it for so long. Bad policies create health problems. That’s the core of this, and if they [the government] want to save money in the future, that’s what they need to tackle.”

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Friederike Eberhard
Friederike Eberhard
4 years ago

What? They are ripped off by supermarkets and the general public and now receive funding to treat their deteriorating mental health? Incredible!

stephen connell
stephen connell
4 years ago

Ripped off by the general public?? why because in a world where machines are taking more and more jobs,wages haven’t risen in real terms forages and the ordinary workers superannuation is being eroded by the shysters in the financial system while struggling to make ends meet and put food on the table means their being gouged and ripped off! Time to take a good hard look at yourself Friederike Eberhard

Friederike Eberhard
Friederike Eberhard
4 years ago

OK I give you that Australian families’ finances are not well. This is brought about by wrong politics but also by personal decisions. I bought cheap milk too until I made a conscious decision to buy farmers brands. Prices for food have not risen in decades, Not even as much as the general wages, yet production costs for these foods have risen exponentially. Where are our priorities? Everyone seems to be able to afford an iphone these days.

Grant Green
Grant Green
4 years ago

That is false, the data is publicly available, food prices have indeed been rising over time, inflation has been occurring at different rates for as long as I have been a shopper and are currently quite low however inflation is not one-off, it is compounded.

http://www.tradingeconomics.com/australia/food-inflation

Rohan
Rohan
4 years ago

So Peter Strong is showing his socialist underbelly again.

Pass even more legislation to fix the problem? There are ample laws and government departments/bureaucrats to deal with these issues already. The fact that these organs have failed in their duty to enforce the current laws speaks volumes. Heads should roll. But Strong keeps up the yakety yak on increasing government powers like the true socialist he is.

Seriously, why is this clown even given the time of day. Red tape caused by politicians is costing this country to the tune of $176 billion. He is a “useful idiot”, aiding and assisting the downfall of businesses everywhere.

http://www.ipa.org.au/publications/2493/red-tape-costs-the-australian-economy-176-billion

Friederike Eberhard
Friederike Eberhard
4 years ago

So, Australia needs a vision here. My vision for farmers would be ecologically sustainable low volume production of high quality milk and other farm products, for example forest farming. Forest farming can alleviate drought by providing a cool air layer where clouds condense. It can improve livestock health if done properly and slow the rate of species extinction. Then the general public must make a conscious decision to buy these products, which would be much healthier than their foreign counterparts. To achieve all this, education is needed. The small oversupply could be exported for a high price. Farmers would be paid well and happy with what they do thus would not suffer mental health problems. Cancer rates would go down, good karma would go up. It’s all just a dream.

Benjamin
Benjamin
4 years ago

It is NOT a dream. It is possible to accomplish something like that.

To be economically viable farmers must examine options for increased productivity on their farms – so they can go beyond surviving to THRIVING when they are offered low prices.

But fighting DUMPING of products on foreign markets as the European Union is IMPLICATED in with regards to the Chinese dairy market strangles everyone.