Queensland consumers could soon be able to check their milk bottle to see if the farmer who produced it was paid a fair price.
Katter’s Australian Party MP Shane Knuth will table a private members bill in the Queensland Parliament on Thursday which would set up a series of region-specific labels to indicate a fair price has been paid.
Mr Knuth says the scheme will make it simple for consumers to support farmers by buying milk which has been paid for at a reasonable rate.
“This will make it very simple for the consumer,” he said.
“They can walk into the shop and immediately see which fresh milk produced in which region is fairly priced by looking at the logo.”
Because production costs vary across Queensland, the Bill identifies three dairy regions – north Queensland, central Queensland and south-east Queensland – and each would have their own logo and cost structure.
The labelling scheme would be voluntary, but Mr Knuth says he believes the scheme will see the supermarket chains come on board.
“Consumers have spoken already, that they want to look after our dairy industry,” he said.
Mr Knuth submitted a similar bill to parliament in 2013 under the previous Liberal National Party government, but it was defeated.
He believed public and political sentiment now appeared to be on the side of the farmers.
“Back in 2000 there were 1500 dairy farmers, now there are 430,” he said.
“That’s an average of one dairy farmer a week leaving the industry.”
The bill is supported by the Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation (QDO).
QDO president Brian Tessmann commended Shane Knuth and the Katter’s Australian Party for supporting Queensland dairy farmers with the Bill.
“Any legislation that empowers consumers to make an informed fair choice at the supermarket is a good for our farmers,” he said.
“Through the recent ‘I Buy Branded Milk’ campaign, we have seen that consumers want to support Queensland dairy farmers and this Bill supports this public change.”
Mr Tessmann said consumers deserved to know whether their milk was sustainably sourced and whether it would support their local dairy farmers.