Thursday, 1 August 2019
Statements by Members
Next month will be the 20th anniversary of the deregulation of the dairy industry. The Queensland dairy industry has gone from 1,580 farmers down to 324. The Atherton Tablelands, the most concentrated and wealthiest dairy area in Australia, has gone from 230 farms to, last time I looked, 48 farms. Three years after deregulation, it had the highest suicide rates in Australia.
In 2019, export earnings in dairy were nearly $3,000 million—over $4,500 million in terms of today's money. So deregulation has taken us from $4,500 million in export earnings to under $2,000 million last time I looked. Farmers in New South Wales and Queensland were receiving over a dollar, in today's money, per litre of fresh milk and are now receiving 58c.
We did all this because free markets were going to be wonderful for us! Well, come up to North Queensland and talk to the beef farmers, the cattlemen. We've got no entry into Europe, no entry into Brazil, no entry into India and we've got minuscule entry into China—60,000 tonne. To put that in context, the last time I looked, 147,000 tonnes go into South Korea. (Time expired)