I’ve called on Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud to lend a hand and spare our egg producers the same possible fate or our dairy farmers.
Read my letter below and make sure you let your thoughts known to Minister Littleproud.
Dear Minister Littleproud,
My office has been approached by the Commercial Egg Producers Association of Western Australia (Inc) (CEPA) representing key industry leaders in the West Australian Egg industry.
During our discussions they raised a number of concerning issues that I believe need to be addressed at a national level. I would like to address two of these with you.
The first issue involves the major supermarket chains abusing their market power to interfere with the process of the free market and deny egg producers a chance to update their prices to truly reflect market costs.
The egg producers are in exactly the same position that the dairy producers found themselves in. Rising feed costs as a result of the drought in the eastern states has added to the strain that they are already facing as a result of what appears to be unfair pressure being placed upon them by the major supermarket chains. Using their market dominance the supermarket chains have coincidently decided not to call for new supply orders which would reflect current prices, but instead have decided to extend existing contracts.
Through government pressure and raising awareness to the plight of dairy farmers we were able to bring about change to at least one supermarket chain.
I believe the egg producers deserve equal treatment as the dairy producers and need to be treated fairly above all.
And by treating egg producers fairly we will also be guaranteeing Australia’s food security, an objective that should be on the top of every Australian government.
The second issue concerns the funding of the ACCC and their inability to deal with potential issues of deceptive marketing. There are serious concerns and allegations that need to be addressed in a timely manner, the ACCC however appear unable to do so. The longer that these issues remain unaddressed the longer justice is delayed.
When unethical businesses are allowed to operate unchallenged they effectively punish operators who are doing the right thing and steal market share.
I urge the Minister to do the right thing by egg producers and to apply the same amount of pressure on the supermarket chains as was applied on behalf of the dairy producers.
I also urge the Minister to do his utmost to help stamp out deceptive and unethical traders who bring the industry into disrepute and deceive customers.
Senator for Western Australia