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Commonwealth to extend loans to National Dairy Products suppliers



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Media contact: Megan Dempsey 0491 222 306

T h e H o n. B a r n a b y J o y c e M P

M E D I A R E L E A S E

D e p u t y P r i m e M i n i s t e r

M i n i s t e r f o r A g r i c u l t u r e a n d W a t e r R e s o u r c e s

7 December 2016

Commonwealth to extend loans to National Dairy Products suppliers

• Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans in Victoria extended to National Dairy Products suppliers • Subject to agreement by the Victorian Government • NDP retrospectively cut farm gate milk prices in 2015-16

The Coalition Government has agreed to extend much needed support to Victorian dairy farm businesses affected by the retrospective pricing decisions of National Dairy Products (NDP), through Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, said the Coalition Government is standing by dairy farmers affected by retrospective cuts to farmgate milk prices beyond their control.

“The Coalition is delivering a $579 million Dairy Support Package to support dairy farm businesses affected by the decisions of Murray Goulburn and Fonterra to make retrospective cuts to farmgate milk prices late in the 2015-16 season,” Minister Joyce said.

“So far (at 18 November 2016) $57.6 million in Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans have been approved to 102 dairy farm businesses across Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania and South Australia.

“Recently the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) advised that, similar to the actions taken by Murray Goulburn and Fonterra, NDP had retrospectively cut farm gate milk prices to suppliers in 2015-16.

“In light of this new information the Coalition Government has taken immediate action to amend the Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans eligibility criteria to include farm businesses that supplied milk to NDP in 2015-16.

“This will provide meaningful assistance to farmers who not only experienced retrospective price cuts but who have not been paid for milk supplied in recent months.

“I commend the Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester MP, and the Member for Wannon, Dan Tehan MP, for making representations on behalf of dairy farmers supplying NDP.

Media contact: Megan Dempsey 0491 222 306

Media release from Barnaby Joyce - Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Page 2

“NDP suppliers will be able to apply for Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans upon agreement by the Victorian Government.”

Under the Coalition Government’s new Farm Business Concessional Loans Scheme, $250 million in concessional loans funding is available until 30 June 2017 to assist farmers to rebuild their businesses following drought and farmgate milk price cuts.

“The Coalition is determined to ensure a strong future for dairy and has established an inquiry into the national dairy industry. The inquiry is being undertaken by the ACCC’s newly established Agricultural Unit, following an $11.4 million commitment through the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper,” Minister Joyce said.

“The ACCC inquiry commenced in November and is investigating the industry to uncover inefficiencies, inequities and to identify a way forward. As part of its investigation the ACCC is asking for urgent feedback through its recently released Issues Paper.”

Feedback in response to the Issues Paper is sought by 12 December 2016. You can contact the Dairy Inquiry team by email at dairyinquiry@accc.gov.au or phone Amy Bellhouse on 03 9290 1405. The final report is due to be released in November 2017.

Victorian dairy farmers who are not eligible for Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans because they did not supply Murray Goulburn, Fonterra or NDP, may be eligible for a Drought Assistance Concessional Loan due to drought conditions in early 2016.

It is important that farm businesses do not self-assess their eligibility for the Farm Business Concessional Loans Scheme. Victorian farmers should contact Rural Finance on 1800 260 425 or ruralfinance.com.au for assistance and details on the application process.

For more information regarding concessional loans please go to: agriculture.gov.au/loans.

Fast facts: • Dairy is one of Australia’s most important rural industries, producing about 9.6 billion litres of milk annually and directly employing approximately 39,000 people. • Up to $575 million is available for Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans with 10 year terms

and interest only for first five years. • $57.641 million in Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans had been approved to 102 dairy farm businesses at 18 November 2016. • The Coalition has made $2.5 billion for concessional loans available over the next 10

years.

• The Government launched the new Farm Business Concessional Loans Scheme on 1 November 2016, which includes Drought Assistance Concessional Loans and Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans. These are provided at an initial variable concessional interest rate of 2.47 per cent for a maximum term of 10 years. Interest-only repayments are available for the first five years of the loan term, with principal and interest repayments for the next five years.

• The Farm Business Concessional Loans Scheme provides $250 million in concessional loans funding through to 30 June 2017.