Labor’s Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Shadow Minister for Rural and Regional Australia Joel Fitzgibbon joined Labor’s candidate for Gilmore Fiona Phillips in Milton on Wednesday to take part in a kitchen table conversation with South Coast dairy farmers.
“The roundtable meeting was an ideal chance to show Labor’s support for local dairy farmers, to listen to their concerns and canvass ideas about how to secure better returns for dairy farming families which are caught in a cost-price squeeze made worse by Government inaction”, Mr Fitzgibbon said.
The dysfunction and division of Scott Morrison’s Government has been an ongoing theme in the electorate of Gilmore. We have seen undermining and arguing amongst its members with the sole focus of local representatives seemingly being to save their own skin.
In contrast, Labor and its federal candidate have been on the ground in Gilmore genuinely engaging with the community and listening to the needs of its people.
It’s been almost a year since the ACCC’s report into the performance of the dairy industry recommended a Mandatory Code of Conduct be established. Inaction and excuses have frustrated dairy farmers and tensions within the industry have increased.
Not only has the Government been slow to react, now we see growing fears a mandatory code may be implemented without proper consultation with the industry.
“Local dairy farms employ up to 1000 people within the Gilmore electorate so this industry is important to our region,” Labor candidate for Gilmore Fiona Phillips said.
“Feed prices, and drought have placed extreme pressure on local dairies.
“We’re here today to support and listen to their concerns as well as their vision for the future.”
Drought policy and climate change were also important issues identified by dairy farmers that have also been frighteningly ignored.
“Labor is committed to restoring and strengthening the CoAG process in order to put drought policy back on track,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.
“The foundation for any drought policy must be adaptation and the embrace of better natural resource management practices.
“We must not only ensure our water and soil resources are used in a sustainable manner, we must encourage the best economic use of them.”