NATIONALS Member for the South West Region Colin Holt MLC is urging dairy processors to work with the State and Federal Agriculture Ministers to deliver a swift resolution to the South West dairy crisis and ensure that WA has a stable fresh milk supply into the future.
“At present WA’s milk production is up, and three dairy farmers have had their supply contracts discontinued by processor Brownes, and yet Brownes have now c onceded that a shortage of supply will leave them unable to provide milk to two local cheese makers from January” Mr Holt said.
“Urgent action is needed to prevent more dairy farmers being forced to leave the industry. We must develop different industry options to keep them in production in the long term”.
Mr Holt said the big supermarkets could play a major role in industry sustainability by stocking WA made cheese and scrapping $1 litre discount milk.
Mr Holt said that through the supermarket chains, Western Australia is importing 300 million litres of milk as cheese.
“We pay the same price for the Eastern States cheese here as they do in Melbourne, so Coles and Woolworths are subsidising that cheese transport”.
“If we could make just 10 percent of the cheese here in Brunswick Junction, rather than importing product, we would not only keep dairy producers in business, but also grow the industry”.
Mr Holt said it was incumbent on dairy processors to consider their product and marketing options and engage government to partner in industry investment.
“Funding should be considered on rock solid business cases that have a broader industry development outcome that provides resilience to the local industry”
Mr Holt said The Nationals WA recognise the implications of the current situation for the State’s food security.
“If we don’t do something now, we’ll have more WA producers leaving the industry. We do not want to get to the stage where we are importing fresh milk into this state.”
“To ensure WA consumers enjoy locally produced dairy products, we need to build resilience in our local dairy industry by developing the industry beyond its current parameters”
For media enquiries please contact Office of Colin Holt MLC on (08) 9724 1181