'Fed up': Dairy industry being used as a political football

By Brian Tessmann, Queensland Dairyfarmers' Organisation president

While I am not privy to the ins and outs of the Queensland Government procurement policies, I do know that there were several criteria had to be satisfied and that the recent decision to award the Metro North Hospital and Health Services contract to Lactalis and Lion would not have been made lightly.

As politicians you would be fully aware of the complexity of the tendering process and know that many facts have been ignored for the sake of sensationalising a story.

The Australian dairy industry is hurting. When you combine the impact of recent natural disasters - both fire and drought, rising costs of production and unsustainable pricing through the value chain, you begin to appreciate the pressure our farmers are facing. Certainly, we have enough on our plate without pointless xenophobia creeping in.

As the president of the Queensland Dairyfarmers' Organisation, I can say with confidence that the farmers we represent are fed up with having the dairy industry treated like a political football over this issue.

Two-thirds of our members supply either to Lactalis or Lion Dairy and Drinks. While both are internationally owned these processors are vitally important to the Queensland dairy industry, Queensland jobs and the Queensland economy.

I am a proud Lactalis supplier and have been for well over 20 years. The company that is now Lactalis Australia started in Queensland many decades ago and continues to trade under the original Pauls brand; a brand known and loved for generations.

 

Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington is pushing for the Government to review its decision to award a dairy contract to international companies, insisting a Sunshine Coast business could provide a portion of the products required. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily
Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington is pushing for the Government to review its decision to award a dairy contract to international companies, insisting a Sunshine Coast business could provide a portion of the products required. Photo: John McCutcheon / Sunshine Coast Daily

Please, I ask you all to stop sensationalising a story that, though disappointing to a Queensland small business, should have got two lines of commentary back when the tender was awarded in December last year.

Instead, your influence and focus needs to be on helping our dairy industry move forward in these very difficult times.

Sincerely

Mr Brian Tessmann

Queensland dairy farmer, Lactalis supplier, QDO President