THE DAIRY industry is looking at the ALP's proposal for a mandatory minimum farmgate price and assessing whether it would be an achievable reform.
Paul Mumford, president of the United Dairyfarmers of Victoria (UDV), welcomed the ALP's acknowledgement that changes were needed in the embattled sector, but said his organisation would have to look over any proposals carefully before giving it their stamp of approval.
"We are pleased they see the need for change and that farmers are doing it tough at present, but equally, those with long memories will cast their minds back to the old wool floor price scheme, which did not go so well," Mr Mumford, who farms in drought-stricken Gippsland, in Victoria, said.
"What we definitely don't want is the wool floor price scheme 2.0."
He said the UDV welcomed anything that boosted farmgate prices from current unsustainable levels, but said there were a number of regional nuances to work through.
"The dairy industry nationally is not the same wherever you go.
"Costs of production in Queensland can be a lot different to those in Victoria, you've got irrigated and rainfed systems, there's a lot of diversity there.
"If there was a floor price type arrangement implemented it would have to factor all that in, factor in the different markets, whether it be domestic or export, so it would not be just a simple matter of telling the processors they have to pay more and to pass that price hike onto the retailers."
"We are certainly happy they are looking at ways at making the distribution of funds from the dairy industry more equitable for the producers but getting the right mechanism to do will not necessarily be simple."
Mr Mumford, currently at the Australian Dairy Conference in Canberra, is meeting with major processors today to discuss the ALP proposal and said he would be able to give a clearer indication of the UDV's stance on the matter once more was known.