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What Australian dairy farmer can survive when Coles retails milk for as little as $1 per litre?

Adapted from If Australia wants a dairy industry, we must re-regulate now! (18/101/9) Media Release | Citizens Electoral Council

Defying even the expressed wishes of their own customers, Coles and other supermarket chains continue to pay dairy farmers so little that they can then sell that milk for $1 per litre!

With Queensland experiencing a deficit in milk production, One Nation Senator Pauline Hanson has threatened to abstain from lending her support to non-critical legislation until the price of milk is regulated. Between the drought, rising input costs and low farmgate milk prices, Queensland dairy farmers are culling herds or getting out of the game altogether, with the number of dairies in the state collapsing from 1,500 at the time of deregulation, to 385 today.

Only re-regulating the industry will rescue Australia’s collapsing milk production. Milk production doubled in the two decades from 1980-2000, but since deregulation took effect in 2000 it has fallen consistently. Fourth-generation dairy farmer from Rush Creek in Queensland, Joe Bradley, told Channel 9’s Today program on 25 September that if milk production drops to 8 billion litres as expected this year, it would make a 30 per cent drop since peak production (2002), and Australia would be set to become a net importer of dairy products.

Supermarkets acting as a cartel against farmers, cows and the rest of us

On Tuesday, 8 February 2011, Member for the Victorian Opposition, Martin Pakula (ALP) pointed to the effective cartel which a supermarket may form in its own right, in a bad situation for farmers which, to me is a danger signal that cows will suffer even more (although Mr Pakula did not mention the suffering of cows). "Anyone who has been to Coles or Woolworths in the last few weeks would know of the decision by the retailers to slash the price of their home brand dairy products, and it seems more of this is on the way in regard to baked goods. This has been described in some circles as a win for consumers, but in the longer term I am not sure that will be the case," said Mr Pakula.

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