Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Farmers need to rise up and stick together: Joyce

Senator Barnaby Joyce told the crowd at the Farmer Power meeting that Australian farmers would do well to follow the example of French farmers.

ASHLEA KUNOWSKI February 15, 2013 4:33am

Senator Barnaby Joyce at the Farmer Power Crisis Meeting in Tongala.

Senator Barnaby Joyce said Australian farmers should follow the example of French farmers and stand-up for the future of the dairy industry by making themselves heard.

Speaking at the Farmer Power meeting in Tongala, the Shadow Regional Development, Local Government and Water Minister commended the courage of French farmers, urging the Australian dairy farmers to stay motivated.

‘‘People such as you (need) to write the agenda and articulate in such a way as your emotion has words,’’ he said.

‘‘I think French farmers are great... because they stand up for what they believe in.’’

Senator Joyce said stakeholders would have to stick together to make their cause known.

‘‘Don’t put yourself in a little pocket and get picked off one by one,’’ he said.

‘‘We must change the logic of this nation to say we are going to do something about it, there is something unconscionable about it.’’

He said Australian farming communities would continue to struggle without sustainable returns.

‘‘I understand entirely the process of diminished returns at the farm gate,’’ he said.

Senator Joyce voiced his frustration about exploitation within the dairy industry.

‘‘I think there is something horribly wrong that first you work 365 days of the year, milk the cows twice a day...(for) a product on the shelf that is apparently cheaper than water,’’ he said.

But he admitted he did not know everything and encouraged farmers to share their concerns.

‘‘I don’t pretend to be the light of all knowledge,’’ he said.

Senator Joyce said it was possible to simplify the dairy industry issue to problems and resolutions, promising he could make a change.

‘‘If it’s a problem created by legislation, it can be fixed by legislation,’’ he said.

‘‘I’ve fought for and will get changes to the competition and consumers we can get a fairer deal.’’

During question time he agreed introducing a single desk representative body for the dairy industry could help resolve the current problem.

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