News

Farmers fired up at forum to discuss food security

Farmers listen to the major parties outline their plans to help the industry at the weekend.
Farmers listen to the major parties outline their plans to help the industry at the weekend.

THE Farmers' Forum at Esk last weekend drew a crowd of 348 to hear what the main political parties plan to do to help primary producers remain sustainable domestically and to ensure food security for Australia.

Chaired and organised by Gympie rural campaigners Graham Engeman and John Cochrane, the forum aimed to raise awareness of the plight of farmers and to begin to restore the balance of power from the supermarket duopoly.

The Somerset Civic Centre crowd was unanimous in its concern that the supermarkets were driving farmers to bankruptcy, Mr Engeman said yesterday.

"Farmers were welcomed by Mayor Graham Lehmann, and organiser John Cochrane outlined the facts behind the enormous financial crisis faced by rural producers and their communities.

"One of the key points made by Mr Cochrane was the unrestricted power in the market wielded by Coles and Woolworths to force down the price of commodities such as milk to below production costs.

"Many see this as unconscionable conduct which requires stronger competition laws."

John Cochrane discusses the dairy issue with Tony Abbott at Kybong earlier this year.
John Cochrane discusses the dairy issue with Tony Abbott at Kybong earlier this year.

Party policy and actions were outlined by Member for Blair Shayne Newmann, ALP; Shane Paulger, KAP Senate candidate, Sandra Bayley, AGP Senate candidate and Barnaby Joyce, LNP candidate for New Eng

land. Each spoke for about 15 minutes and then answered questions from the floor.

"The question all wanted answered was what each party would do to control the aggressive market behaviour by the big two supermarket operators," Mr Engeman said. "Competition laws were identified as too lax in allowing supermarkets to drive down supply prices.

"Many questions related to a mandatory code of practice with most of the audience calling a voluntary code a waste of time.

"The huge increase in farm costs were highlighted with income levels stagnant.

"The producers and suppliers have little alternative for product outlet given the unfair market advantage of the supermarkets and the lack of government action to restore some balance and control into the market place.

"Farmers sympathised with service station operators who are also suffering from supermarket fuel discounting, however, whereas the fuel companies are multinationals who control production and processing and sell through independent and company outlets, the farmers are Australian families who feed our nation clean, green product at the mercy of the processor and retail chain market control."

The forum passed a unanimous resolution that: "We commit to work together to reduce supermarket power and to make the market fairer, more balanced, more transparent and to ensure farmers get sustainable returns".

"It was a sombre meeting where the pain suffered by today's farming families was very evident on the faces of the audience," Mr Engeman said.

Mr Cochrane said the forum had helped those politicians who attended understand the farmers' plight but that he would only be satisfied when he saw action.

"They (politicians) say they can't do anything about it," he said. "Well who is running this country?"

Queensland was losing 80 dairy farms a year, and Mr Cochrane has another seven sales already booked for south-east Queensland.

"Since 2000 we have lost 66% of our dairy farmers in Queensland," he said.

"That number is what should be worrying people." Each year in Queensland we are now 100 million litres short, and Queenslanders will have to drink more UHD milk as fresh milk supplies further dwindle.

"This is the worse I have every seen it," Mr Cochrane said.

Gympie Times

Topics:  esk farmers forum john cochrane supermarkets



Foodies' scavenger hunt: are you up for it?

IF YOU want to give your tastebuds the flavour sensations of a lifetime, here is the ultimate foodie’s scavenger hunt through Brisbane.

5 minutes with Israel Folau on footy, life and love

Israel Folau and Silver Fern netballer Maria Tutaia announced their engagement last last year.

WE CAUGHT up with football star and Brisbane ex-pat Israel Folau.

10 reasons to head to South Bank this summer

Head to the only inner-city beach in Australia!

South Bank has a ridiculous amount of fun things to do.

Five mammoth events you need in your life

No Caption

BRISBANE isn’t known for doing things by halves…

How to make your child's every dream come true...

Take a dip at South Bank in the inner-city beach.

‘I DON’T want to do fun things, Mum and Dad’… said no child ever!

How to do Eat Street the right way

Know where to start and where to end to avoid a huge food coma before you get to experience all the goodies!

EVERY Friday and Saturday night, Hamilton comes alive.

You can do WHAT in Brisbane?!

Talk about arriving in style! Take your pub crawl to the next level with a helicopter!

BET you didn't know you could do these things in Brisbane...

Invisible threat adds burn to heatwave

You can't feel it or see it but UV radiation is what's causing sunburn and it's at extreme levels.

UV radiation more than five times safe limit during heatwave

What the bunya pine trees says about upcoming rain

ANCIENT WISDOM: Len Carlson says the nut harvest from his Mooloo property's bunya pines has been a remarkably good guide to west season rainfall over his 62 years growing crops in the area.

Veteran crop farmer Len Carlson says trees tell the story

Employers: Are you ready for the backpacker tax?

FARM WORK: Backpacker wages are now taxed at 15%, and employers have been asked to register with the ATO to ensure a smooth transition.

There's one thing you need to do by January 31

Local Partners

Nicole reveals her biggest parenting challenges

Actress Nicole Kidman.

Nicole Kidman says her kids are ‘deeply attuned' to her moods.

Suicide Squad director reveals his regrets about the film

Margot Robbie in a scene from the movie Suicide Squad.

DIRECTOR of superhero flick on what he’d change about ‘flawed’ film.

Meet the new Marco on MasterChef Australia: Yotam Ottolenghi

Israeli-born, London-based chef Yotam Ottolenghi will be a guest chef for a week on the 2017 season of MasterChef Australia.

AFTER Marco’s defection to Seven, MasterChef signs a true food hero.

Big Bang spin-off to be about kid Sheldon

Jim Parsons in a scene from the TV series The Big Bang Theory.

Actor Jim Parsons has dished on an upcoming Big Bang Theory spin-off

How Adam Brand’s Nashville dream fell apart

Country music singer Adam Brand talks about how heartbreak stopped him chasing his Nashville dream.

SINGER reveals how heartbreak stopped him from chasing his dream.

What's on the small screen this week

Grant Denyer will host Channel 10's Australia Day concert from the Sydney Opera House.

STAR-studded Australia Day celebrations and fascinating docos.

Stockland's $150m pitch: Build it and they will come

Gladstone Marina. The Gladstone Regional Council offers a range of exciting job opportunities. Photo Contributed: Murray Ware.

Here's why we need to see Stockland upgrade start soon.

By the water's edge

Secure your seachange

Gympie attracts buyers looking for affordable seachange

Core Logic property statistics reveal the region's median house price dropped 3.4% to $269,000 in the September quarter.

Median house price drops 3.4% to $269,000 in the September quarter

HOT PROPERTY: Money to spend on land, buildings

File picture.

Sale, leasing of industrial real estate picks up in Mackay

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!