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Labor's cruel hoax on dairy farmers.

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8 June 2000 AFFA00/111WT


The NSW Government and Country Labor’s 5-minutes-to-midnight suggestions of a national floor price scheme for milk are a cruel hoax on dairy farmers who are facing real difficulties following the States’ decision to deregulate dairying, the Federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Warren Truss, said today.

Speaking in Parliament, Mr Truss said NSW Labor knows the Federal Government has no general power to fix prices. Attempts to give the Commonwealth such powers have failed at referendum. A national floor price for dairy products could only be implemented if all States transferred their pricing powers to the Commonwealth.

"Labor must therefore get the agreement of all the States including the Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland Labor Governments to implement such a scheme," Mr Truss said. "Country Labor must get on the phone to Premiers Bracks and Beattie and get their agreement to such a scheme before suggesting it to NSW farmers.

"The dairy regulations are State regulations, not Federal. And these arrangements are different in every State.

"The Federal Government has not passed any legislation to deregulate the dairy industry, nor do we intend to do so. There are no Federal laws regulating the dairy industry that are to be repealed.

"So far,these calls for eleventh hour schemes are just political smoke screens to cover the lack of action by the NSW and Queensland Governments in addressing the concerns of dairy farmers whose quotas will be valueless following deregulation by the States.

"The State Labor branches in NSW and Queensland should put forward compensation packages for quotas to top up the Federal Government’s $1.78 billion restructure package, but these options have been ignored by State Labor Premiers.

"Only the Coalition Government in Western Australia has stepped up the to mark of responsibility and provided an additional package to cover its farmers.

"Labor has continued to run from its responsibility to look after dairy farmers in Queensland and NSW.

"This is a cruel disregard by Labor for the problems of dairy farmers."

Further inquiries:

Minister's office: Andrew Hall (02) 6277 7520 or 0419 996 766

Last updated 8 June 2000 URL: Commonwealth of Australia 2000