If you live in the big Australian states there’s a real chance the milk on your Weeties has to be trucked across the Nullabor or over the Murray. Why?
Because the local dairy farmers just can’t make a living out of supplying milk to you. Nor is there enough infrastructure left to export from those states. It’s a downward spiral that has left WA dependent on South Australian milk.
Here in Victoria, home to two-thirds of Australia’s milk, we have a strong export industry and milk production is steady. There’s a hell of a lot of hype about the rivers of white gold based on China’s thirst but, so far, little of it has flowed back to the farm gate.
The situation is different in New Zealand. They have a flourishing dairy sector that is the envy of Australia. The Kiwi climate – political, economic and pastoral – are almost perfect for dairying, making them our most formidable competitors. And they have a free trade agreement with China that puts them at up to an 18% competitive advantage straight off the bat. Australia’s dairy farming families are not asking for a hand out. All we ask for is a fair go.
My little fellow may not understand why he’s grinning in the middle of a paddock holding a sign but if you want him to grow up helping put milk on your children’s Weeties, please tweet a pic of yourself with #FTA4dairy today. He needs your help to get the deal done.