Katter seeks law to give farmers fair price for milk
KENNEDY MP Bob Katter has introduced a Bill he says would allow Australian dairy farmers the right to get a fair price for milk.
The Dairy Industry Bill 2013, put forward in Federal Parliament yesterday by Mr Katter, would ensure processors pay a set minimum price to dairy farmers for milk as well as giving farmers the right to collectively bargain.
Mr Katter told Parliament the deregulation of the dairy industry in the mid-2000s had catastrophic economic and social impacts on the region's farmers.
"There were 21,000 dairy farmers in Australia and now there are less than 7000," Mr Katter said.
"My area had 240 and the last time I looked at the figures we had 42 left and one of the towns up there has the highest suicide rate in Australia."
Millaa Millaa farmer and Queensland Dairy Farmers spokesman James Geraghty said farmers were currently waiting for the outcome of price negotiations with processors.
"We support a sustainable pricing scheme but I'm not sure how Bob intends to do that," he said.
"If it created a sustainable price for the industry which allows all sectors to make a profit, then we'd support it."
Mr Geraghty said the price of milk, currently 48.5 a litre, was down 10 compared with 2000, with farmers also battling rising costs.
In what was a busy day in Parliament for Mr Katter, he also put forward an Aviation Laws Amendment Billand also pushed for a moratorium on coal seam gas aquifer drilling.
Under Mr Katter's proposed changes, an airline would have to be majority Australian-owned and conduct at least 80 per cent of its maintenance work in Australia.
"What it really says is that Qantas will stay as an Australian company, will be based here, and those maintenance engineers and technical staff, they will be based here, so that if a plane gets into trouble it can be fixed here," Mr Katter said.
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Busy day: Member for Kennedy Bob Katter says deregulation has been catastrophic for the dairy industry.