I raise a matter for the attention of the Minister for Agriculture, Joe Helper.
The action I seek is for the minister to assist Victoria’s dairy farmers to
become more profitable and productive, especially in the wake of the recent drop
in milk prices, by widely publicising and promoting the outcomes of a new $6.9
million research partnership between the Brumby government and Dairy Australia.
In the last few months we know the dairy industry has had a
particularly bumpy ride. A lot of that is to do with the world economic
downturn, but it is also to do with the dairy market conditions that have
deteriorated and the farm-gate prices that have dropped by around about 32 per
cent and up to 50 per cent in certain areas.
To add insult to injury, we also have seen the European Union
— and now the USA — reinstating dairy export subsidies, actions that will only
depress the market further and slow its recovery.
Today the government announced funding of $4.5 million that
will go towards the Dairy Australia partnership, and that research is directly
about increasing the productivity and profitability of the dairy industry. I am
particularly seeking from the minister that he ensure that all dairy farmers,
particularly in Victoria, become aware of this research project and, more
importantly, that they become totally aware of the output and outcome of that
research so that they also can invest and learn from that research and their
farms can become more productive and profitable.