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Share-farmers need certainty, not more vague promises.



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MEDIA RELEASE

 

Gavan O’Connor MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY

 

17 November 1999

 

SHARE-FARMERS NEED CERTAINTY, NOT MORE VAGUE PROMISES

 

Shadow Agriculture Minister, Gavan O’Connor, today called on the Howard government to immed iately clarify the position of share-farmers with respect to the $1.8 billion Dairy Industry Package.

 

Mr. O’Connor said that many share-farming families are grappling with decisions about their future in the industry.

 

“Australia’s 2000 share-farmers have always played a key role in the dairy industry in this nation,” Mr O’Connor said.

 

“They have particular reason for concern because, despite vague commitments, the Howard Government has yet to guarantee them any access to the package.

 

“If, as seems likely, the dairy industry is fully deregulated next year, share-farmers will face a significant drop in income as the premium that farmers receive for market milk spirals downwards.

 

“Share-farmers will need to weigh up a number of factors when considering their future in the industry and one of the most important will be the amount they are entitled to under the Dairy Industry Package.

 

“The dithering by the Howard Government on this issue has typified its whole response to dairy industry restructuring.

 

“It has taken the attitude that, because deregulation is being driven by large sections of the industry, it is solely the responsibility of industry bodies to prepare an appropriate response.

 

“When the industry developed the Package proposal, the government sat on it for nearly six months.

 

“When it did finally endorse the Package, the Minister said a number of details, including the position of share-farmers, were yet to be worked out.

 

Shadow Agriculture Minister, Gavan O'Connor, today called on the Howard government to immediately clarify the position of share-farmers with respect to the $1.8 billion Dairy Industry Package.

 

Mr O'Connor said that many share-farming families are grappling with decisions about their future in the industry.

 

"Australia's 2000 share-farmers have always played a key role in the dairy industry in this nation," Mr O'Connor said.

 

"They have particular reason for concern because, despite vague commitments, the Howard Government has yet to guarantee them any access to the package.

 

"If, as seems likely, the dairy industry is fully deregulated next year, share-farmers will face a significant drop in income as the premium that farmers receive for market milk spirals downwards.

 

"Share-farmers will need to weigh up a number of factors when considering their future in the industry and one of the most important will be the amount they are entitled to under the Dairy Industry Package.

 

"The dithering by the Howard Government on this issue has typified its whole response to dairy industry restructuring.

 

"It has taken the attitude that, because deregulation is being driven by large sections of the industry, it is solely the responsibility of industry bodies to prepare an appropriate response.

 

"When the industry developed the Package proposal, t he government sat on it for nearly six months.

 

"When it did finally endorse the Package, the Minister said a number of details, including the position of share-farmers, were yet to be worked out.

 

"The Minister said that it was the responsibility of the industry, not the federal government, to sell the Package in each state and to convince state governments to remove remaining regulation.

 

"This is a very cavalier way to handle major structural changes in a $2 billion export industry which employs 60,000 people across the nation.

 

"Australia's share-farmers deserve and need certainty. The Minister should act to guarantee them access to a fair share of the Package."

 

 

 

dd  1999-11-18  11:30