Morrison wants cap kept on $1-litre milk levy: dairy farmers “gobsmacked”

Taken from The Weekly Times

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has rejected imposing a 10 cent levy on $1-a-litre milk to help drought-stricken dairy farmers, while enjoying a hefty pay rise as he moves into his new role.

“My first instinct is never to try and solve a problem with a tax, and I don’t want to see any increase in prices for Australians,” he told the Nine Network.

“I want to ensure we can ensure the sustainability and viability of our dairy sector, but not doing that at a cost to mums and dads pouring milk on their cornflakes.”

Dairy farmers have faced a $1-a-litre cap on supermarket milk prices since 2011, while most Australian consumers and their political leaders have enjoyed regular pay rises.

The parliamentary base salary of a backbencher has risen nearly 50 per cent, from $136,640 in 2011 to $207,100 today, with the PM earning $527,852.

Dairy farmers have reacted with horror at the Prime Minister’s remarks, with NSW Dairy Connect president Graham Forbes saying he was “gobsmacked” by the PM’s remarks.

“It’s bizarre that he said that,” Mr Forbes said. “What’s he trying to do, hand the whole job on a platter to Bill Shorten?”.

“It’s ludicrous to think the industry’s milk price should be pegged at $1-a-litre for so long”.

“Why does he think milk is the only thing that can’t go up in price? We’re not asking for anything ridiculous, just a fair go.”

“And I think there’s a fair bit of sympathy out there from consumers on this.”

United Dairyfarmers of Victoria president Adam Jenkins said the reality was a dollar milk in 2011 was just not the same as a dollar today.

Deflating today’s $1-a-litre milk to 2000 prices means millennial consumers would have paid just 65 cents for a litre of milk. At the time they were actually paying $1.40/litre.

“It just shows how flawed the discounting model is,” Mr Jenkins said.

“That’s why the UDV wants a code of conduct that goes from the farm gate right through to the retailer.”