Government report predicts continued fall in Queensland milk production

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 14th October 2011

A report released today by the Queensland Government predicts the State’s milk production will fall by 5 per cent for the year 2011/12. The report attributes the impacts of natural disaster recovery and the supermarket ‘milk war’ to estimated low production levels.

According to the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (DEEDI) report, the gross value of milk production in the State of Queensland for 2011-12 is forecast at A$229 million, 5% lower than the final estimate for 2010-11.

Milk production in Queensland fell from 529 million litres in 2009/10 to 510 million litres in 2010/11. The DEEDI report predicts milk production in Queensland in 2011-12 to be around 470 million litres.

Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation president, Brian Tessmann, said report is the latest in a long list of reports that dairy farmers are facing a disastrous impact from “unsustainable” low retail prices of A$1/litre for supermarket store brand fresh milk.

Mr Tessmann said, “Farmers are serious about the recovery and want to continue producing fresh milk for Queensland. But it is just such an added blow that this recovery is happening at a time when we are being sent such negative messages about the value of milk from the major retailers.”

Senate Inquiry into impact of supermarket prices on Australia’s dairy industry

The current Senate Economics Committee inquiry into the retail milk war is due to report its findings on 1 November 2011.

Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation has made 10 recommendations to the Senate Inquiry and the Federal Government. Its recommendations include:

• a mandatory whole of supply chain code of conduct, headed by an Ombudsman or Commissioner that can enforce the code, and ensure that contracts, prices and supply conditions are not unsustainable,

• strengthening the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 to prevent predatory pricing and deceptive and misleading conduct.

• the ACCC monitoring prices, costs and profits relating to the supply of drinking milk and marketing tactics used by major supermarkets over an extended period of time.