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Palaszcuk dairy plan does not target dairy farmers hardest hit.



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HON WARREN TRUSS MP MINISTER FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FORESTRY

AFFA01/62WT 27 March 2001

Palaszczuk dairy plan does not target dairy farmers hardest hit

The Queensland Government’s demand that the Federal Government do more to aid dairy farmers is hypocritical and further highlights the unwillingness of the State Labor Government to do anything to help farmers affected by its decision to deregulate the State's dairy industry, Federal Agriculture Minister Warren Truss said today.

Mr Truss said the State Minister, Henry Palaszczuk, continues to stir the pot and raise farmers' hopes, but either he has totally failed to extract any money from the Beattie Government for dairy farmers, or he has not even tried.

Dairy communities in Queensland have been hard hit by deregulation, but the State Government has not even responded to the industry’s appeal for quota compensation.

"The Queensland Government continues to cry poor, despite the fact it received more than $120 million in national competition payments from the Commonwealth in 1999-2000, and a further $86.4 million in 2000-01.

"The Queensland Government has the resources to help farmers, and should use some of its competition payments to offer genuine assistance."

Mr Truss said the Palaszczuk plan for more Commonwealth assistance was poorly targeted and could actually disadvantage Queensland.

"Mr Palaszczuk’s proposal was not supported at the recent ARMCANZ (Agriculture and Resource Ministers' Council of Australia and New Zealand) meeting, and was attacked particularly by his Labor colleagues," he said.

"Mr Palaszczuk’s Labor colleagues recognised his plan meant consumers in Brisbane and Sydney would be subsidising profitable producers in Victoria, rather than directing maximum help to farmers in Queensland, NSW and Western Australia who are the hardest hit by deregulation.

"The Federal Government has delivered fully on the industry's request to provide a $1.78 billion package to help Australia’s dairy farmers adjust to the new marketing environment resulting deregulation.

"Nonetheless, the Federal Government recognises the seriousness of problems in some sections of the dairy industry and is looking at what more it can do to help those most in need."

Minister's office: Yvonne Best (02) 6277 7520 or 0418 415 772

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Last updated 27 March 2001

URL: http://www.affa.gov.au/ministers/truss/releases/00/0162wt.html Commonwealth of Australia 2000