What is the “intent” of our governments as they continue to compromise Australian farmers’ and businesses’ capacity to create wealth and reinvest here? The Weekend Australian identified Victorian dairy farmers’ plight during a drought which has impacted the largest dairy producing areas in Australia. The Victorian Government has said they have to have a two year drought before they are entitled to help. Mother Nature is harsh, but dairy farmers are not being paid enough to cover their costs, hemmed in by rising energy and water costs aided by carbon tax imposts. Add to that Coles sell milk for $1lt compared to bottles of water for $2.50 for 350ml. Where is the justice in that? This also puts great pressure on the Australian dairy processors who use Australian milk, and do not want to source off shore.
The Farmer Power Group that formed in Victoria earlier this year had already raised the issue of declining on-farm income and rising debt. The Victorian and Federal Governments were obviously not listening.
In addition, last year the Victorian government allowed the Chinese to buy the Victorian Dairy Research Centre and allowed them to outbid the dairy farmers by just $10K as the farmers stretched their bid using their own money. The centre was developed by and for Australian farmers. It is now idle until the Chinese send their scientists to operate it.
Last year New Zealand stopped the sale of eight dairy farms to the Chinese because it did not meet the national interest test. New Zealand had the largest dairy company in the world, Fonterra. Australia has not major food companies since Fosters was sold.
How can Australia take advantage of the Asian century if we do not own the assets and support our skilled farmers and their knowledge of our land?
This is not the only issue impacting our capacity to feed ourselves and benefit Australia. Graincorp’s future is precarious as USA owned ADM will own assets that once belonged to Australia, and the US will determine the price our farmers get. n fact, our Governments have condoned the sale and majority foreign control of every major food export except rice.
Earlier this year the Federal and WA government gave over $600M to the Chinese to “invest” in the Ord with a 50 year lease. $Bs have been given to Ford and Holden only for them to leave and not reinvest in this country. Yet we cannot find money to alleviate the plight of those who feed us.
Interviews can be arranged with Lynne Wilkinson, CEO AUSBUY on (02) 9437 5455.