Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Enough milk for everyone

An Australian free trade agreement with China is an opportunity for growth, not a threat, says the nation’s largest dairy farmer lobby group.

August 5, 2014 3:10am

‘‘We’re primed and ready to boost our milk production in the wake of an FTA with China,’’ UDV president Tyran Jones said.

‘‘And we look forward to helping the Federal Government secure this trade deal.

‘‘An FTA with China means more Australian jobs. Dairy already directly employs 43000 people and even more along the supply chain,’’ Mr Jones said. ‘‘But we can employ far more, if the deal with China goes ahead.’’

Mr Jones dismissed fears that FTA-driven growth in Chinese demand for Australian dairy products would lead to a shortage on local supermarket shelves.

‘‘The fact is we can supply Australian and Chinese consumers with more than enough safe, reliable dairy products — from drinking milk to cheese, yoghurt and infant formula.

‘‘And I can assure every Australian that our dairy farmers can produce more than enough milk to meet their needs. We have the resources, skill, land and water to produce far more.

‘‘Twice a day, almost every day, we put the cups on our cows and pump 9.2billion litres into our milk vats, through the factories onto supermarket shelves and into export containers.

‘‘Just think about the fact that each Australian drinks an average 107 litres a year, and then you realise why we need a strong and growing manufacturing and export sector.’’

Mr Jones said every Victorian dairy farmer should be proud of the contribution they made to the nation’s economy and should be demanding their local politicians did all they could to get the Chinese FTA across the line.

Mr Jones said New Zealand already had an FTA with China that gave it a huge tariff advantage over Australian dairy farmers’ exports.

‘‘So we’re glad to hear Trade Minister Andrew Robb’s comments that he will secure a New Zealand plus dairy outcome with China and we look forward to helping the government secure this deal.

‘‘Australian farmers want an FTA that means our exports to China are tariff-free by 2019.’’

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