The minister has taken the media to task for ‘inadvertently pandering’ to the dairy industry, saying the issue is about ‘the future of Australian agriculture’.
The comments were made in a speech at the NSW Farmers Association conference, where Mr Scott was joined by Dairy Farmers of NSW and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
“As we speak, the Australian Dairy Council has been working to secure a new dairy deal,” he said.
He said he had told Dairy Farmers he would be working to keep them on board, despite “vastly improved conditions” for dairy farmers in NSW and the country.
The minister, who has been in the industry since 2007, said he believed the future of Australia’s dairy industry rested with farmers and farmers themselves.
Mr Scott said he was “sick and tired” of farmers “playing politics” with the issue.
“[The industry] has got to realise the milk industry is not going away,” he told the audience.
“We’ve got to keep the milk coming and keep the farmers in the milk business.”
He also said he would push for changes to dairy farming laws, saying he would like to see the federal government introduce a “new milk guarantee” to encourage dairy farmers to buy more milk.
Ms Berejickian said farmers and their families should not be forced to pay “a tax on milk” if they had “a healthy farm”.
“That’s not going to be the case,” she said.
“They [farmers] are going to have to have the ability to negotiate prices.”
That will allow farmers to have access to the milk they need to continue to grow their business.
“I think that will happen.”
Ms Brejicklian also backed up the government’s position on the dairy sector.
“The industry has to keep growing,” she told the event.
Labor frontbencher and dairy supporter John Williams, who was also in attendance, said the industry was “playing political games” with dairy farmers.
‘It’s not just the dairy farmers’ problem’ Labor has also criticised the government for not doing enough to address the industry’s “deep and systemic” problems, particularly the fact that dairy farmers were not being paid for the milk produced on their farms.
“It’s the dairy farm lobby that is the problem, not the dairy farmer,” Ms Berejiclian said.
Topics:agriculture,industry,government-and-politics,industries,nsw,swedens-union-national-party,federal-government,australiaContact Greg BroughtonMore stories from New South Wales