The National Party WA has thrown its support behind a renewed industry push to increase the farm-gate milk price by 5¢ per litre.
Last month WA dairy farmers called on governments and industry heads to immediately increase the farm-gate price paid to farmers to address increasing production costs.
The push relates to the farm-gate price of milk, which is not affected by the new mandatory Dairy Code of Conduct that came into effect on January 1.
South West MLC Colin Holt said the Nationals WA supported the renewed push for fairer pricing, saying the WA dairy sector was in crisis.
“In the past five years, the cost of production for a litre of milk in WA has risen by 10¢ per litre, yet the return to farmers has actually decreased in the same period,” he said.
“Ever since Coles and Woolworths introduced $1 per litre milk a decade ago, farmers have been up against the wall and recent cost-of-production increases off the back of drought has forced dairy farmers to reconsider their futures.”
More than 10 WA dairy herds are for sale as farmers exit the industry due to rising costs.
“WA dairy farmers receive some of the lowest returns in the nation, getting an average of just 50.2 cents per litre back,” Mr Holt said.
“In Queensland and New South Wales that figure is up to 20¢ per litre higher.”
Mr Holt said unless major supermarkets and WA’s three multinational dairy processors — Harvey Fresh, Lion and Brownes — returned an additional 5¢ per litre to dairy farmers the industry would have an uncertain future.
“Dairy farmers who have been in business for generations in the South West are being forced out of the industry they love because they aren’t getting paid a fair price for their product,” he said.
“Unless something changes, we won’t have a sustainable dairy industry in our State to supply the fresh milk that WA families enjoy.
“Instead, consumers will be paying far more for milk which will need to be freighted in from the Eastern States.”
About 150 farms throughout the State contribute more than 380 million litres of milk to the WA dairy industry each year.