Southern Downs backing for dairy farmers rally
SOUTHERN Downs dairy farmers and politicians were among hundreds rallying in support of the dairy industry outside Parliament House in Brisbane.
They joined farmers from across Queensland, calling on the big supermarkets and government to put an end to the $1 milk price war.
Among those at the rally was Karara-based Independent Senate candidate Belinda Marriage.
Ms Marriage said she travelled to the event on Wednesday to show her support for farmers.
“A lot of the dairy farmers I spoke to said they were a bit lost. They don’t want what happened in Victoria to happen here,” she said.
Ms Marriage said she didn’t support Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce’s $555 million package for concessional loans for dairy farmers.
“I don’t believe it will make a difference,” she said.
“To repay a loan you’ve got to be making money.
“A lot of the dairy farmers aren’t making money,” Ms Marriage said.
“I’d like to see raw milk become legal, giving farmers greater opportunity to sell their milk... I think if the big companies were a bit more flexible dairy farmers could sell some of their milk to local companies such a boutique cheesemakers.”
Southern Downs MP Lawrence Springborg was also at the rally.
He’s called for the supermarket chains to stop “predatory buying practices”.
“They’re using the hard work of dairy farmers and their families to boost their profits,” he said.
“It’s about time the major supermarket chains stop pretending to be farmers’ friends and start acting like it.”
Mr Springborg said said it was appalling that milk was being sold cheaper than water in supermarkets.
“It just goes to show how out of whack and unfair the current situation is,” he said.
“There is justifiably a sense of frustration that dairy farmers, who put in an extraordinary amount of work into producing high quality product ,are getting such poor returns.”
Mr Springborg said he believed the majority of Queenslanders were in the dairy farmers’ corner.
“Let’s commit ourselves to buying branded milk.”