Wednesday, 30 March 2022
Statements by Members
Australian farmers have seen costs skyrocket. Fertiliser, freight, packaging, fuel have all nearly doubled in the past 12 months and urgent action is required. For example, the biggest generic item sold in supermarkets in Australia are bananas. Farmers who provide work for 25 or 30 people face monthly bills of around half a million dollars. This equates to $1.50 per kilo of bananas before the farmers have any return at all. Farmers receive about 20 cents less, about $1.30, from the supermarket chains, which charge consumers double that amount—$3 a kilogram. Farmers would save money by doing nothing but sitting around and taking dole payments.
Governments need to act urgently. Supermarkets must provide farmers with a minimum price that is higher than the cost of production. Supermarkets equally need to be accountable for the price increase that they charge Australians, particularly when the two major supermarkets have 90 per cent of the Australian food market. They preach to us about free markets. It is not a free market. What I was taught at university was it is an oligopoly. We must demand a strong government that does not provide sugar hits to the Australian public while farmers live off their borrowings from the bank, eating away at their asset until they own nothing and have no income. We demand the government provides real changes to stop this from continuing. (Time expired)