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10 March, 2020

OPINION: Got Milk?

The social media militia went into overdrive this week after we posted the headline “Chinese company given the green light to buy Dairy Farmers”

By Phil Brandel


The social media militia went into overdrive this week after we posted the headline “Chinese company given the green light to buy Dairy Farmers”

With comments like:  “Stop selling us out” “Sell them the whole country why don't you..”

And my favourite “boycott big M”

What most outraged people didn’t realise (although they would have if they read the article) is that Dairy Farmers hasn’t been owned by an Australian company since 2008.

Japanese company Lion Drinks is selling an asset that they have owned for over 10 years (Dairy Farmers) to China’s Mengniu Dairy Company.

Good luck trying to stop that.

Milla Milla Farmer and Dairy Farmers Milk Co-op Director James Geraghty said: “some people may be upset that another Australian asset has been sold to overseas interests, but Dairy Farmers has not been in Australian hands for some time.”

“If we have a choice between a Japanese brewer who doesn’t want to be here and a Chinese milk company who wants to be here, we’ll take the Chinese,” he said.

Mr Geraghty is hoping the new owners will play hardball with Coles and Woolworths “Australians are going to have to pay more for milk, or there won’t be any”

Put yourself in the muddy shoes of our local dairy farmers, you have two choices:

Sell your milk to Coles and Woolworths and slowly go broke and have to sell the farm, or sell your milk for a healthy profit into China. It’s not exactly money or the box.

Australia needs foreign investment to stay afloat and it’s too late now to be protesting that Dairy Farmers should stay in Australian hands. That cow has well and truly bolted (pardon the pun)

Hypothetically imagine a deadly airborne virus started striking people down with impunity and we had to close our borders and imports, with some people going into quarantine (sound familiar?)

Imagine we started running out of food, water and milk. Would the Chinese owners supply food/water/milk to Australians over their countrymen?

In Southern Queensland, a Chinese company is allowed to pull 96 megalitres of water per year out of the ground, while local communities are in drought (One megalitre is equal to one million litres)

Arnott’s, Tooheys, Bundaberg Sugar, Uncle Tobys, Milo, the list goes on of foreign-owned companies.

Now I’m not anti-foreign investment and I’m not one of those people who think that China/Japan/Indonesia is going to invade any tick of the clock.

But what I am for is shoring up Australia’s food security.

We have a perfect storm about to hit, a scary dark cloud forming on the horizon called Covid 19.

Foreign companies are buying up Australian food brands, and selling that food overseas, as they get a much better return selling overseas rather than selling to Woolworths or Coles.

We shouldn’t be protesting about who owns what, but we should be asking where is that food going?


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