Nationals Member for Northern Victoria Luke O’Sullivan has questioned Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Ambrosio over the rise in energy prices that has heavily impacted dairy processors and dairy farmers.
Mr O’Sullivan invited the minister to meet with him and representatives from the UDV to give those in the dairy industry the opportunity for their energy concerns to be heard.
‘‘Dairy processors in this state are being hit by additional costs of about $170million per annum in terms of their electricity prices,’’ Mr O’Sullivan said.
‘‘This is putting extra costs back on the dairy farmers in terms of them receiving a lower price for their milk.’’
Dairy Australia figures say that energy costs are expected to rise by 50-70 per cent in 2017-18, which is equal to about 1¢/litre less that companies can pay farmers.
‘‘Also the dairy farmers themselves are experiencing higher power bills to run their own dairy operations on their farms, and we are seeing something like an $18000 to $19000 on average increase for electricity bills for dairy farmers over the last three years,’’ Mr O’Sullivan said.
He said if this continued, milk and dairy production in Victoria might no longer be viable, leading to the need to import products from overseas.
‘‘We want to ensure that we remain a country that is able to produce clean food that is of a high standard to feed our own people.
‘‘As well as that, we also want to be in a position where we can export the balance of the food that we grow to other parts of the world so they can have the same access to the clean green food that we produce here,’’ Mr O’Sullivan said.