Milk levy gets Lismore electorate backing

MP Thomas George surveys the queue of Tenterfield farmers lining up for donated hay. Feed availability is also impacting farmers at the other end of his electorate. Photo by Kim Rhodes.
MP Thomas George surveys the queue of Tenterfield farmers lining up for donated hay. Feed availability is also impacting farmers at the other end of his electorate. Photo by Kim Rhodes.

As people is the Lismore district have rallied to donate hay to Tenterfield, locals can return the favour by supporting a push for a milk levy to help dairy farmers down that way.

Member for Lismore Thomas George and Austin Curtin, Nationals candidate for the seat on Mr George’s retirement, have declared their support for the 10 cent milk levy not only through drought but all the time.

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Kyogle farmer Shane Hickey launched a petition in conjunction with Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation calling on the major supermarkets to increase the price on all milk by 10 cents per litre and for processors to guarantee that the full amount will go directly back to the farmers.

Mr George fully supports the efforts of this petition, however, believes it could go further in challenging the major supermarkets to support farmers regardless of whether there is a drought. Dairy farmers in the Tenterfield district are scarce these days, but the dairy industry is significant at the eastern end of the electorate.

“While the Northern Rivers has faired the drought better than other areas in NSW, the low farm gate price of milk and higher feed costs has had a major impact on the productivity of our farmers,” Mr George said.

“An increase of 10 cents per litre would hardly be noticed by consumers. However, it would be a godsend to dairy farmers, not only in NSW, but right across the eastern coast of Australia.

“The challenge was put to me by Mr Hickey via social media and I have spoken to him personally, giving him my full support for the campaign.”

National candidate Austin Curtain (blue shirt) has been busy coordinating hay donation efforts from the Lismore end of the electorate.

National candidate Austin Curtain (blue shirt) has been busy coordinating hay donation efforts from the Lismore end of the electorate.

Nationals Candidate for Lismore Austin Curtin said the dairy industry has a strong history on the North Coast and politicians should do what they can to fight to keep the industry viable.

“Through my work supporting Tenterfield Shire Council’s Drought Appeal I have seen firsthand how scarce and expensive high-quality hay is at the moment.

“The regular operating and feed costs for dairy farmers are high during a good season, let alone when they are competing with other primary producers during the drought.

“It’s about time the major supermarket chains gave our farmers a fair go, not only now, but also into the future.”

Details of the petition can be found at https://www.change.org/p/petition-coles-woolworths-for-a-10-cent-litre-drought-levy-on-all-milk

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