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Milk price cut unfair & needs to be reserved.



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DEMOCRATS MEDIA MILK PRICE CUT UNFAIR & NEEDS TO BE REVERSED The Australian Democrats have slammed the decision by milk processor National Foods to cut the price paid to dairy farmers by 0.75 cents per litre. Democrats Agriculture spokesperson Senator John Cherry said the price cut highlighted the weak bargaining position of dairy farmers following deregulation three years ago, and called for a crisis meeting of State and Federal Governments to correct the balance. “At the very least, State and Federal Governments should be using their powers to enforce a minimum price that covers the cost of production, and establishes rules for negotiating between farmers, processors and retailers on fairer prices,” Senator Cherry said. “The food prices report for March this year revealed that the farmers’ share of retail milk prices has fallen from 42% to 25% of the final price since 1997, while retailers share rose from 17% to 22%. “Dairy deregulation has been an economic and social disaster for Australia’s dairy farmers and this latest price cut should serve as a wake-up call to State and Federal Governments, that a better way must be found,” Senator Cherry concluded. Media Contact - Pam Hose - 0408 752 750 SENATOR JOHN CHERRY

AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS AGRICULTURE SPOKESPERSON

04/350 THURSDAY 6 MAY 2004