Ministerial Statements: Dairy Industry
Senator Patrick: I rise to take note of the minister's answer as well, and I just want to put on the record that Centre Alliance supports dairy farmers. We do not support a floor price, and we don't support a floor price because we listen to our constituents, and the South Australian Dairyfarmers Association basically says it's not something that is wanted. But I'm not going to give the government a free kick here. There are things that you are doing wrong. You've got an F in relation to the Murray-Darling. I understand the input costs of feedstock are high. The government has done nothing about energy prices, and that has to be sorted out. And of course there is the rising cost of living. I will acknowledge the work in terms of market imbalance that Senator McKenzie had in relation to co-ops. She did some fantastic work in that area. But the code of conduct has been late coming—way too late.
In relation to the market imbalance divestiture laws, we moved some a couple of weeks ago in this place and were not supported by the government, and we need to look at that again. And the market perception of a dollar milk—since 2011 we've understood that that is just hugely problematic. That's Coles and Woolies, but there could've been earlier action in relation to that. As was mentioned by Senator Watt, we have had a number of inquiries into this, both back in 2011, in relation to $1 milk, and indeed in 2017, in relation to Murray Goulburn. The government has let people down because they haven't acted on recommendations that were before them.