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Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Page: 14621

Mr DRUM (MurrayNationals Whip) (13:58): The dairy industry in northern Victoria was one of the most productive in Australia, and it is now on its knees. On a daily basis I have been contacted by dairy farmers who cannot afford to buy feed for their cows nor the water to produce the feed for their cows. Families have invested tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars in the genetics of their herds over decades and have lifted milk production to world standards. Now these farmers are shutting down their herds and sending these amazing genetic pools off to the abattoirs. We have an absurd situation where the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder now holds more water in storage than the entire GMID uses for productive agriculture in the course of a year.

Over the last two years, Minister Littleproud has worked incredibly hard with the states to restore confidence and security around the 450 up, and he has included the shadow minister, Mr Burke, in all of these negotiations. But two weeks ago, the shadow minister, the member for Watson, from his little office in Punchbowl, made an announcement that the Labor policy is changing and they are going to remove the cap on buy-backs. Last Friday, when he was in the safety of South Australia, he made another policy that is going to revoke the socioeconomic test against taking more water out of agriculture. The dairy farmers in the Goulburn Valley don't think it can get much worse. However, what Labor are preparing to do is going to completely decimate what's left of the dairy industry. The member for Watson is the architect of the whole industry.

The SPEAKER: In accordance with standing order 43, the time for members' statements has concluded.