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Labor welcomes dairy region task force.

Labor Welcomes Dairy Region Task Force


Gavan O'Connor - Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry


Media Statement - 3 March 2000


The decision taken by a meeting of all State and Federal Agriculture Ministers to set up a task force to examine the impact of dairy deregulation on regions and on the dairy workforce is a victory for those who understand that the impact of dairy deregulation goes beyond the farm gate, according to the Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Gavan O'Connor.


"I welcome the fact that the Federal Government has finally acknowledged that dairy deregulation may have a severe impact on regions throughout the country and on the many Australian families who depend on the industry for their livelihood," Gavan O'Connor said.


"I commend State Agriculture Ministers, and especially the Labor State Agriculture Ministers, for pressing the Commonwealth on this issue.


"Since the dairy compensation package was tabled April 1999, I have been critical of the Government's failure to make provision for assisting regions to cope with the dislocation to their local economies following dairy deregulation.


"Provision for regional assistance ought to have been part of the Government's response from the start, and accepting the need for a task force to look into the matter is only a very belated first step.


"The Government ought to have begun the process of assessing the potential regional impact of dairy deregulation last year, as soon as it became apparent that dairy deregulation was likely.


"By now an action plan for the regions ought to have been in place.


"Labor will be looking to the Federal Government for a speedy response to the task force report when it is handed to council of agricultural ministers, ARMCANZ, in August.


"It reflects no great credit on the government that it has had to be dragged to this position by the combined pressure of State Governments, the Federal Opposition and dairying communities throughout Australia."


Authorised by Gary Gray, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.