CARR GOVERNMENT MUST PROVIDE STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT PACKAGE FOR DAIRY COMMUNITIES

Dairy Compensation No.2

CARR GOVERNMENT MUST PROVIDE STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT PACKAGE FOR DAIRY COMMUNITIES

7 March 2000

Thomas George, Member for Lismore, together with the NSW National Party Leader, George Souris have called on the Carr Labor Government to provide a structural adjustment package to New South Wales dairy-dependent regions in the wake of last week's decision by all state governments to go ahead with full deregulation of the dairy industry.

Mr George hasagain stated the package must be at least the equivalent of the $60 million the Carr Government provided to restructure the forest industry.

"While today's decision to deregulate the farm-gate milk price is disappointing, it is imperative that the Carr Government provides adequate compensation and finds replacement industries for dislocated farmers and their communities," Mr Souris said.

"The Federal Government is coordinating a $1.72 billion Australia-wide milk industry compensation package which will be raised through a levy on the retail price of milk, which will be matched by a cut in the price paid to farmers.

"However, dairy regulation is a State responsibility and today's decision will have to be implemented through State legislation.

"The Carr Government cannot be allowed to abdicate its responsibility.

"New South Wales' 1800 dairy farmers are going to experience massive re-adjustment as a result of full deregulation which will take place on July 1, 2000.

"The assistance measures so far announced by the State Government are simply not enough. The Carr Government is providing only $2.1 million in assistance to farmers for the direct purpose of counselling," he said.

Mr George said the impact of full deregulation on New South Wales dairy regions would be devastating, especially on the North and South Coasts, communities which have also been hit hard by the forest industry restructure.

"Hundreds of families are either directly or indirectly reliant on New South Wales dairy farms.

"The estimate that 30 per cent of New South Wales dairy farmers will be forced out of the industry is catastrophic for already struggling rural towns, such as those here in the Lismore electorate.

"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