A critical step towards delivering a key element of the Coalition Government's Dairy Support Package was taken today, with a provider engaged to implement the Commodity Milk Price Index.
Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator Anne Ruston, today announced that Webber Quantitative Consulting Pty Ltd had won the tender and will commence building this useful tool for the Australian dairy industry to better understand and interpret price signals.
"The Coalition Government committed to establish a Commodity Milk Price Index at the last election and we are delivering," Minister Ruston said.
"This government knows it is vitally important that Australian dairy farmers are able to understand and interpret price signals from the global dairy market to help drive decisions on farm.
"The index will deliver greater price transparency and improve market signals to dairy farmers. The index will help to avoid a situation such as the retrospective price cuts imposed on dairy farmers by Murray Goulburn, Fonterra and National Dairy Products late in the 2016 season.
"The analysis and information resources will assist dairy farmers to incorporate available price information, including the index, into their business decisions and planning.
"I want to thank the Industry Advisory Panel, comprising of members of the Australian Dairy Farmers' Markets, Trade and Value Chain Policy Advisory Group and a representative from the Australian Dairy Products Federation, for its work informing and advising the Tender Evaluation Panel to assist the assessment of proposed approaches to delivering the Commodity Milk Price Index.
"The index is a valuable part of the Coalition's $579m Dairy Support Package to assist farmers affected by retrospective cuts to farm gate milk prices in the 2015–16 season. This package has seen more than $160 million in concessional loans paid to dairy farmers."
The index and associated resources will become available in early 2018 and will be updated monthly.
- Dairy is Australia's third largest rural industry, with $3.685 billion in farmgate production in 2016–17.
- The industry exported $3 billion worth of dairy products in 2016–17.
- Approximately 42,000 people are directly employed in the industry.
- The government delivered a $579m Dairy Support Package to assist farmers affected by retrospective cuts to farm gate milk prices in the 2015–16 season.
- The package includes access to Dairy Recovery Concessional Loans, additional rural financial counsellors for dairy regions, $900,000 for Dairy Australia's 'Tactics for Tight Times' and additional Department of Human Services (DHS) staff to process Farm Household Allowance claims and a DHS Dairy Industry Liaison Officer.