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Dairy Bill shows absurdity of political structure

The fact that Parliament's time had to be used to amend the Dairy Board Act to ensure farmers weren't acting illegally by supplying colostrum milk to their marketing companies, shows the absurdity of the political and regulatory system that overhangs the Dairy Industry, according to National's Agriculture Spokesperson Gavan Herlihy.

"It is a nonsense that the description of a product which a farmer can supply to his processing and marketing company is dictated by law. It is an indictment of the current regulatory and statutory provisions that govern the Dairy Industry.

"The specification of the milk and its standards should be the basis of a commercial contract between the farmer and the dairy company that is buying the product. What other primary industry is covered by such outdated regulations? For instance, there is no statute governing the type of potato that a vegetable grower can supply to a supermarket. That specification is rightly the prerogative of a commercial contract.

"The supply of colostrum and the marketing of a wide range of pharmaceutical products derived from colostrum is an expanding and profitable part of the Dairy Industry.

"It is a commercial matter which should not be covered by statute. But yesterday Parliament was confronted with the bizarre situation of having to make legal a commercial practice that has gone on for a decade!

"Farmers are extremely vocal about the compliance costs of various laws and regulations which impact on the industry, yet the structure of the Dairy Industry, which is protected by statute, adds to this compliance cost.

"The need to amend the Dairy Industry Act yesterday further vindicates the previous Government's actions to move the administration of the Dairy Industry to a more commercial structure, not one constrained by statute and unnecessary regulation," Gavan Herlihy said.

Ends

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