About 500 farmers have attended a sobering, but peaceful crisis meeting at Tongala to discuss issues holding down milk prices.GEOFF ADAMS February 14, 2013 4:04am
The dairy industry faces a pessimistic future unless they can get better milk prices, speakers told a public protest meeting at Tongala yesterday.
The meeting was organised by a new farm lobby group which developed spontaneously out of an emotional protest in a Western District town in January.
Dairy farmers say their milk prices are running below their cost of production and fear they will be forced to leave the industry.
The meeting attracted some colorful conservative politicians including National Party Senator Barnaby Joyce, who accused big supermarkets of exploiting dairy farmers and urged the dairy farmers to stick together with other farm commodity groups.
Senator Joyce said milk was now being sold on supermarket shelves at a price less than bottled water.
Ausbuy representative Lynne Wilkinson told farmers the Australian government had negotiated ‘‘free trade’’ agreements with the US which did not benefit Australia for 15 to 20 years, while cheap imported food flooded into Australia.
She said every major food commodity except rice was controlled by foreign interests, including 75 per cent of the country’s dairy brands.
She said Free Trade Agreements were not free nor in Australia’s interest if it meant growers and processors were competing against foreign government subsidised products.
Most of the crowd had to stand up as seating was limited but they waited quietly during the two and a half hour meeting.
Supermarkets are paying suppliers, including dairy farmers, less because they are in a constant push to increase profits, entrepreneur Dick Smith OAM said.
Mr Smith said the obsession with increased growth and profits was not sustainable and would have consequences for Australians’ way of life.
He told the meeting he was shocked Australia had become a net importer of food.
‘‘It’s globalisation gone made and it’s capitalism gone mad,’’ Mr Smith said
A former priest and teacher at St Colman's in Shepparton has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 13-year-old student in 1970.
Beautiful weather greeted Tungamah residents for the 18th running of the Tungamah Lions Ten Thousand on Sunday.
When Keith and Marion Grumley and their growing family moved to Tatura on January 18, 1968, little did they know that it would be the start of a long and lasting connection to the town.
Echuca Lion Ken Walter has been presented with the International President’s Medal.
Rochester Tigers take on Rochester United today in the Goulburn Murray Cricket Twenty20 match.
Sorting future of Campaspe pools
Two primary school students have been among just 25 in Victoria to be awarded the Prime Ministers NAIDOC Medal.
Local athletes will go head-to-head with some of the best competitors from around the world in swimming and athletics in December.
Pre-schools in Heathcote and Colbinabbin will benefit from grants announced last week.
Moira Shire Council says 36 cents of every dollar spent on staff costs is 'not an unusual number'.
Works on Edward River Beach to Beach Walk to be completed.
Further redundancies at Victoria’s largest rural water corporation, Goulburn-Murray Water, are possible, with more efficiency reviews being carried out.
Rotary's inaugural Community Policing Award goes to Detective Leading Senior Constable Jenny Parker for her work above and beyond her duties working with victims of sexual abuse.
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