Call for a temporary milk levy

By Country News

Australian supermarket chains, dairy processors and dairy farmer groups should introduce a temporary levy for the next 12 months, according to Nationals MP David Gillespie.

Dr Gillespie said a 10¢/litre levy was needed while structural reforms were under way to establish a more viable diary industry supply chain.

Should the industry ‘‘fail to take action’’ and bring such a levy in, the NSW MP said he would introduce a private member’s bill to try and make it happen himself.

Dr Gillespie said the dairy farmers in his electorate of Lyne, north of Sydney, needed help to remain viable, now and into the future.

‘‘There is action being taken now, and I thank my colleague (Agriculture Minister) David Littleproud for his engagement with the industry and pressing ahead with new measures, but these will take time to work through,’’ Dr Gillespie said.

‘‘Dairy farmers can no longer wait, and that is why I am seeking to provide immediate confidence and certainty for producers.’’

He will invite representatives of the major supermarkets and processors to discuss a temporary 12-month levy.

‘‘Of the top three supermarket chains, Woolworths has been ahead of Coles and Aldi in terms of implementing measures to address the viability of the dairy supply chain, however, it is simply not enough.’’