Milk war will kill off farmers
A LOCAL politician has weighed into the debate about the discount milk war between Australia’s two big supermarket chains.
Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker said the price war was unsustainable and could have a devastating long-term impact on our dairy industry and its capacity to deliver locally produced milk.
Mr Hartsuyker was speaking following The Nationals first party room meeting for 2011, prior to the resumption of Federal Parliament this week.
“The supermarket’s offer of $1 a litre for Homebrand milk might be welcomed by some, but in the end it is unsustainable,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
“It is an anti-competitive and a cheap marketing ploy which is undermining the very future of Australia’s dairy industry.
“Nationals members and senators right across the eastern seaboard are seriously concerned about the impact this will eventually have on Australia’s future capacity to produce milk and other dairy products.
“Regardless of what the supermarket chains say, the reality is extra pressure will be placed on both dairy farmers and milk processors to further cut their prices.
“For some farmers this will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. They will simply walk away from milk production and that will reduce Australia’s capacity to produce for itself.
“The supermarket’s cross subsidisation of Homebrand milk means all other dairy producers are not competing on a level playing field. If you drive these other dairy processors out of business eventually there’ll be less competition. It will only be a matter of time before we have to start importing milk dairy products and prices will rise. That is simply a ridiculous situation in a country like Australia.
“With the market power they command, the supermarkets have an obligation to act responsibly and in the best long term interests of our nation. They should not try and shut down an industry simply to satisfy their board of directors.
“If they want to use their market domi- nation in such an anti competitive way, then the Gillard Government must instruct the ACCC to ensure the big retailers are operating within competition law.
“Cheaper prices for consumers are always welcome but it is wrong when big multi nationals use cheap marketing gimmicks to threaten food security and our long-term national interest.”