The Q&A crowd in Tamworth was amused last night by Barnaby Joyce's continuing attempts to claim credit for high cattle prices. The locals know higher prices are drought induced.

But dairy farmers will not be amused by Barnaby Joyce's omission of their crisis from his rhetoric on national television.

Thousands of dairy farmers across southern Australia are facing huge debts and have question marks hanging over their businesses after Murray Goulburn and Fonterra slashed milk prices in April.

Labor stands with these farmers and their communities.

We have called on the Murray Goulburn Board to return retained profits and investor dividends back to the Cooperative members in the form of a higher farm-gate price.

The Board has the power to put cash quickly into the pockets of dairy farmers and Barnaby Joyce should be putting pressure on it to do so.

Instead, he has been resolutely silent on the one practical measure that would make a difference to dairy farmers right now.

He has also refused to join Labor in committing to review the use of 'claw-back' provisions in agricultural commodity contracts, which sparked the current crisis.

The Minister for Agriculture needs to stand up for Australia’s dairy farmers instead of hiding behind his hastily cobbled together ‘assistance package’ and staying silent.


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