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Labor will fix Howard Governments's dairy mess.



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Gavan O'Connor - Labor Will Fix Howard Government's Dairy Mess

http://www.alp.org.au//media/0501/gomsdas090501.html Thursday, 10 May 2001

Labor Will Fix Howard Government's Dairy Mess Gavan O'Connor - Shadow Minister for Agriculture

Media Statement - 9 May 2001

The only changes Labor will make to the Dairy Adjustment Scheme will be to fix up the mess National Party Ministers have made in responding to dairy deregulation, according to Shadow Agriculture Minister Gavan O'Connor.

Mr O'Connor was responding to an unfounded claim by Agriculture Minister Warren Truss that Labor intends to roll back the package of dairy assistance.

"Kim Beazley set up Labor's Dairy Task Force to assess the impact of dairy deregulation on regions throughout Australia and to make recommendations about ways to ensure the future of the dairy industry and dairying regions," Mr O'Connor said.

"That task force has now completed its consultations with dairy farmers and their representatives in every state of Australia and is currently preparing a report and a list of recommendations for Mr Beazley.

"Dairy farmers can be assured that a future Labor Government will not reduce their entitlement to the current assistance package in any way.

"Among the concerns that dairy farmers themselves have raised with Labor's dairy Task Force are:

That under Mr Truss' stewardship money raised by taxing milk, and which ought to have been spent on struggling dairy regions, has been spent on projects which don't have a lot to do with helping dairy farmers cope with deregulation, like the Beaudesert polocrosse field.

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That the eligibility rules for the Dairy Exit Program are so tight that very few farmers who want to leave the industry can actually access the exit package. ●

That bureaucratic delays have resulted in a very long wait for dairy farmers to access the assistance they are entitled to. ●

That the Howard Government keeps talking about a $1.78 billion package when in fact this is amount that is raised by the milk tax while only $1.2 billion will stay with dairy farmers and the Treasury will end up with most of the rest.

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That Mr Truss keeps calling on the States to put in more money when his government has not contributed a cent. ●

Labor will not be rolling back dairy assistance. Unlike the Howard Government, Labor has listened to dairy farmers and will be putting in place policies to fix up Mr Truss' mess. Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.

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