Dairy Deregulation WA

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Dairy Deregulation WA
Dairy Deregulation in WA
We are told that the Australian Dairy Industry has been deregulated as a result of the Federal Governments Competition Policy. In fact the industry is highly regulated and farmers are not allowed to sell their milk direct to consumers. By making pasteurisation compulsory, the government is forcing farmers to sell only to processors, yet the government has done nothing to prevent the takeover of processing companies by a hand full of foreign operators that now control the industry along with the retail duopoly that exists in Australia. For a long time the Farmer co-op Challenge Dairy  provided some stability to the market for milk, sadly they have now gone out of business.  How can a supposedly pro private enterprise Federal Liberal Government have allowed this to happen? (written in 2006) . We are told the pasteurisation is a public health issue, but until the late 1960's we could still buy un-pasteurised milk in shops. I remember going to the shop with a Billy and milk would be ladled from a drum. A herd testing program was in place and I'm not aware of any major health problems. At the time the ban on the sale of un-pasteurised milk was introduced the risk of passing TB was the given as the reason, but TB has since been eradicated from the Australian herd. Un-pasteurised milk is an entirely different product to the white liquid that is passed of as milk today. If consumers wish to buy un-pasteurised milk  (with a suitable herd testing regime in place) why should the government stop them?  Most dairy farmers drink their own milk un-pasteurised.  This is a consumer rights issue. The government allows us to buy cigarettes and fatty fast foods,   both likely to kill us, why not allow the consumer to make up their own mind up about un-pasteurised milk? There are suggestions that pasteurising kills the enzymes that are required to digest milk so it is quite possible that the process actually contributes to health problems!   If farmers were allowed to sell direct to consumers then a real free market would exist and small farmers could make a reasonable living. The claim was that deregulation would result in cheaper milk for consumers, this has not happened. The processors and retailers are making a greater percentage.  The profit of processors is returned to their foreign owners worsening our national debt, I some times wonder who's side our government is on! Slow Food Australia is currently running a petition supporting the use of raw milk in cheese, click here to support the petition.   There are a few locally owned dairy companies that form part of  a growing agritourism sector in WA, by supporting them you are support local communities and avoid your money being returned as profits to foreign companies. Once the mining boom ends we are going to need businesses like these to survive.

These comments are made as an interested observer of what has happened to family farms and communities where I live in the South West of WA, as a result of the so called dairy deregulation. I'd welcome someone in authority to explain any error in my logic. If what I've written makes sense to you, then you might be interested in the following pages Farmers Markets , Organic Farming, Permaculture , Sustainable Living and Slow Food Click here to listen . If you agree with the ideas expressed here, please feel free to link to any of these pages from your website this way you are helping to spread the concept of stability through diversity! If your website is relevant to the content of this site I'll happily provide a reciprocal link.

Barry Green, Managing Director, Western Tourist Radio

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