Dairy farmers rallied around the country, to protest milk price cuts. They say it’s placed their livelihoods under siege and they’re not happy with new Government incentives for the struggling industry.
Jack Gramenz reports.
A half-billion dollar band-aid.
That’s what dairy farmers think of the new support package, announced by Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce.
Fifty-five million dollars has been set aside for low-interest loans before June 30, with a further five-hundred million earmarked for the next two years.
Twenty million is on offer to upgrade Gippsland’s ageing irrigation system.
While two million will be spent, setting up an index to increase pricing tranparency.
But dairy farmers already wallowing in debt aren’t looking for more loans.
They want a fifty cent levy on every litre of fresh milk sold, just twelve cents more than a similar levy consumers currently pay on petrol.
Alex Robertson, Protest Organiser: “That is a hell of a lot of money, that would get the farmers well out of trouble.”
This farmer drove his tractor three hundred and fifty kilometres from western Victoria to deliver his message.
Basil White, Dairy Farmer: “We need help to continue making feed and fodder and looking after these cows.”
And it appears the farmers have the public on their side.
More than 160,000 people signed this 16-year-old’s petition.
Chloe Scott, Petition Organiser: “Every signature counts and it’s one step closer to what we want to achieve.”
It seems, the battle over who controls the farmgates is far from over.
Jack Gramenz, QUT News