Minister for Agriculture, Senator Bridget McKenzie, said the government was delivering on its election commitments by providing grants to Australian Dairy Farmers and Dairy Australia.
“The grant to Australian Dairy Farmers of $1.01 million will be used for projects to support a more transparent and accountable dairy sector,” Minister McKenzie said.
“The grant will develop a standard contract that will fit with the industry’s mandatory code of conduct, making it easier for farmers to deal with processors.
“It will explore the design, development and market testing for a new milk pricing and trading platform, which could potentially give dairy farmers more selling options.
“And it will explore the development of a payment system using blockchain technology to enable quicker and more transparent, secure payments to dairy farmers by processors.
“We’re currently consulting on what a milk marketing and trading platform might look like as part of the development of the mandatory Dairy Code of Conduct.
“The grant for Dairy Australia of $500,000 will help dairy farmers through the development and roll out or practical materials for farmers to build financial and legal literacy and risk planning.
“Dairy Australia will also develop business tools to help farmers better understand their production costs and milk prices in their region. This will give them more information for when they enter into contract and payment arrangements, to make sure those arrangements best suit their business.
“These grants combined with the development of the dairy code of conduct are part of the Liberal and Nationals Government’s $22 million worth of commitments designed to ensure a viable and prosperous dairy sector.
“Our government recognises there is no one policy lever or program that will address all the challenges facing the dairy industry.
“Right now dairy farmers are under particular pressure from the drought and high input costs for water, fodder and electricity.
“That’s why we have a range of other measures including $10 million in grants to help dairy farmers upgrade or invest in energy efficient equipment to reduce energy costs, an extra $8.1 million for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Agriculture Unit to establish a dairy specialist position and ensure compliance with a mandatory dairy code, and $3 million to support farmers set up cooperatives and other collective business models.
“The future of the dairy industry is central to our national interest.
“Our government is working to ensure that future generations of Australians can continue to enjoy safe, nutritious and delicious dairy as a key part of a healthy diet.
“That’s because it benefits all Australians as well as providing an income for the 5,200 dairy farms across the country, the 24,400 Australians who work on them and the 21,000 people who manufacture milk into other dairy products.”