NSW LABOR GOVERNMENT MUST PROVIDE ASSISTANCE TO DAIRY-DEPENDENT REGIONS IN THE FACE OF DEREGULATION

Dairy Deregulation

NSW LABOR GOVERNMENT MUST PROVIDE ASSISTANCE TO DAIRY-DEPENDENT REGIONS IN THE FACE OF DEREGULATION

22 December 1999

Thomas George, Member for Lismore, today joined NSW National Party Leader George Souris in expressing their disappointment at the Victorian dairy industry's decision to support deregulation of the market.

Mr Souris said the NSW industry was now under enormous pressure to deregulate, which will have a major impact on rural communities across New South Wales.

"Deregulation will take a heavy toll on rural and regional communities on the North Coast," Mr George said.

"Hundreds of families are either directly or indirectly reliant on NSW dairy farms.

"The estimate that 30 per cent of NSW dairy farmers will be forced out of the industry is catastrophic for already struggling rural towns."

Almost 90 per cent of Victorian dairy farmers have voted to accept the Federal Government's Australia-wide offer of a $1.8 billion assistance package to restructure the quota system.

Mr George said it was now imperative the NSW Labor Government provided adequate funding to assist dairy regions to establish new industries.

"Assistance measures so far announced by the State Government to help NSW dairy farmers through this very difficult time are simply not enough.

"The State Government is providing only $2.1 million in assistance to farmers for the direct purpose of counselling. (This money will be funded by the dairy industry itself through a levy on milk and on farmers)

"NSW has some of the best dairy farmers in Australia and the world, and they will survive, providing they are given the necessary support from the NSW Government.

Mr George called on the Carr Government to provide at least the same level of assistance to dairy regions as it had for the recent forest industry restructure.

"The State provided $60 million through the Forest Industry Structural Adjustment Program which was matched dollar for dollar by the Federal Government.

"New South Wales dairy regions deserve to receive the same level of funding from the State Government."

"This is why the National Party proposes a Dairy Industry Structural Adjustment Package, the size of the State Government contribution to at least match the $60 million Forest Industry Structural Adjustment Program.

"The Carr Government must assist dairy regions with meeting the costs incurred by dairy farmers in restructuring their operations post deregulation to remain competitive in the industry or to remain in agriculture, but restructure their operations towards alternative agriculture.

"Dairy farmers should know that the National Party is committed to working closely with the New South Wales industry to overcome the challenges facing the industry and to ensure their future," Mr George concluded.

Lismore Contact Details:

Office: 55 Carrington Street  LISMORE
Postal: PO Box 52  LISMORE  NSW  2480
Telephone: 02 6621 3624
Facsimile: 02 6622 1403
Email: lismore@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Murwillumbah Contact Details:

Telephone: 02 6672 7577