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Calls for financial assistance to keep Lion Dairy in Australian hands

A Japanese-owned beverage giant’s plans to sell its Australian dairy and fruit juice business to a Chinese company has collapsed after failing to get the blessing of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

Kirin struck a deal in November to divest its Lion Dairy and Drinks subsidiary to China Mengniu Dairy. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission allowed the sale in February.

But Kirin advised on Tuesday the companies had mutually decided to abandon the deal as they had not secured federal government approval.

Atherton Tableland dairy farmers are pleased the sale of Lion’s Malanda Dairy Factory to China has fallen through. In a rare moment of nationalistic concern, the Liberal Jewish Treasurer Josh Frydenberg disapproved of the sale

In a move to keep Lion Dairy in Australian hands, Kennedy MP Bob Katter has called on the federal LNP Government to immediately provide the capital that would enable iconic Australian-owned Bega to come together with Norco to purchase Lion’s Dairy, putting the dairy industry back in Aussie hands.

Mr Katter said the LNP had a long, sour history of failing the Australian dairy industry between deregulation and then “conning” the farmers into joining the dairy co-op, Dairy Farmers, and then immediately selling to a foreign corporation.

“The dairy farmers were sold out when they were conned into joining this big corporation under the illusion it would be “farmer owned”. As soon as they joined, the blokes that ran it immediately sold it out to foreign corporation.

“The northern dairy area is maybe the biggest dairy area in Australia – the Atherton Tablelands once had 250 dairymen and now we have 50.

“And so to then see the Government sitting on the side-lines while China was buying Lion, the biggest milk processor in Australia – the country was disgusted. Every Australian was disgusted.”

Mr Katter said that every single political party apart from the LNP were now in favour of a minimum price scheme and that supporting the sale of Lion to Bega would be a small step in righting the wrong that was bestowed upon dairymen around Australia in 2001 when the industry was deregulated.

“The President of the KAP is Shane Paulger, one of Queensland’s bigger dairymen, who together with the dairy industry have been fighting for the restoration of the minimum price scheme for 20 years.

“Deregulation has been an absolute tragedy and travesty; it has been the destruction of the industry.

“Every employee in Australia enjoys an arbitration, which is a proper and reasonable income and that is very good but the governments of Australia will deprive the farmers of the same right to arbitration?

“If the honourable members for Woolworths and Coles, the ALP and the LNP, won’t give it to us, then we might start playing their game. Please God we can raise the money so Bega can buy Lion. If we do that, we will be meeting fire with fire.

“The LNP is the only political party voting against a minimum price scheme in Australia. Even the Greens and the ALP are voting for it and so all we get out of the LNP whether it is dams or minimum price scheme or Woollies and Coles is a “call for an Inquiry” – that is their idea of government.

“So I challenge the federal Government, if you are even remotely fair dinkum then provide some capital investment Bega to buy Lion. Let our Australian money work for we Australians”

Mr Katter also warned that while China had gone away, it was only temporary and that they would be back.

Coles and Aldi stand condemned for not increasing milk price for dairy farmers

Retired National Party federal leader Warren Truss given Australia Day award for screwing the dairy industry

For long-term dairy campaigner and State MP Shane Knuth the 10c per litre milk rise through Woolworths is cautiously welcomed, however he said a 30c per litre increase was needed to save a collapsing industry.

 Mr Knuth said dairy farming is disappearing in Queensland and more needs to be done by combined state and federal governments to revitalise and save the industry.

Long-time milk price campaigner Shane Knuth, KAP member for Hill, says farmers need 30 cents litre increase to survive

 “In the year 2000 we had 1,500 dairy farms in Queensland. The day I tabled my Fair Milk Mark Bill in 2013 we had 540.

 Thanks to both major parties voting down the bill we now have less than 370 dairy farmers left in the state.”

 Mr Knuth added he is continually dismayed that Federal and State politicians will march arm in arm with producers at rallies and make bold speeches but do absolutely nothing in presenting legislation or taking action to save the industry.

 “If we continue this trend of inaction we will have no dairy farms left in Queensland within the next decade and will be importing all our milk from other states and overseas.”

 Mr Knuth added he was proud of his efforts to highlight the plight of Dairy Farmers, submitting two (2) private members bills and continuing to fight for the industry in Queensland;

 “I have also put a motion into state parliament calling on all governments to pressure supermarket giants, that a 10c per litre increase be applied to EVERY litre of milk sold in all supermarkets in all milk producing states, with the 10c increase going directly back to the dairy farmer.

This would be a good start in helping to save the dairy industry.”