Bob Katter wants to re-regulate the dairy industry and cut the dominance of the supermarket giants in a bid to raise farmgate milk prices.By Laura Griffin
Bob Katter wants to re-regulate the dairy industry and cut the dominance of the supermarket giants in a bid to raise farmgate milk prices.
The outspoken Queensland politician wants to set up an arbitrary board that would set farmgate milk prices.
He said deregulation had driven milk prices down for farmers and pushed many out of the industry.
Mr Katter did not provide details about who would make up the board.
At an unannounced visit to International Dairy Week last Wednesday, he said the proposed bill had been drafted. He said he thought the draft had been submitted to legislative process and he was unsure when it would be put to the House of Representatives.
Mr Katter expects only he and Tasmanian independent Andrew Wilkie would vote in favour of the proposed bill and said politicians from the major parties would continue to look out for the interests of Woolworths and Coles.
‘‘If you want to keep taking what Coles and Woolworths want to pay you, you can, but some people want to stand up,’’ Mr Katter said.
Mr Katter also proposes cutting the dominance of Coles and Woolworths to 22 per cent of the market share each. He admits it would be a difficult move.
At a media door-stop, Mr Katter said farmers could get a better deal if interest rates were brought down in line with the rest of the world. He blamed Australia’s high interest rate for pushing the Australian dollar through the roof and halving the income of dairy farmers.
‘‘Victorian dairy farmers are expressing their pain. Yesterday, a lady burst out crying because she could not pay her electricity bill, which has doubled,’’ he said.
Mr Katter blamed electricity privatisation and commercialisation for the rise.
‘‘One thing free markets haven’t delivered is anything free.’’
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