Agriculture Minister David Littleproud today issued a media release about absolute nothing.
The headline reads: “Mandatory Dairy Code of Conduct Moves Forward”. Yet the release cites no milestone or reason for issue. It offers no new information or statement of achievement.
Next month marks one year since the ACCC recommended a Mandatory Code of Conduct for the dairy sector. The recommendation was predictable and Labor had been calling for a Mandatory Code for three years. The ACCC inquiry took 18 months.
As a result of Labor questioning at recent Senate Estimates, we learned the Mandatory Code of Conduct will not be in force until 1 July, 2020.
Interestingly, the Minister’s release today made no mention of a commencement date.
The Morrison Government’s tardiness stands in stark contrast to its 2018 efforts on a mandatory code for the sugar industry. It was developed and implemented in 24 hours to secure One Nation’s Senate vote for Treasurer Morrison’s company tax cuts for large corporations.
In his release today the Minister says the Code: “won’t fix all the industry’s structural problems but it’s a good first step. The next step is to draft wording for the regulation.”
Dairy farmers facing an existential threat posed by a shocking price-cost squeeze will be gobsmacked.
What is the next step after that Minister?
Liberal and National MPs must embrace Labor’s proposed Minimum Farm Gate Milk Price. Only Government intervention will address the sector’s serious structural issues.
It’s clear today’s release about nothing was in response to pressure on the Morrison Government to embrace the minimum price. It won’t fool a single dairy farmer.