Australian agriculture minister Kim Chance is responding to calls to prioritise financial relief for WA dairy farmers to follow up the extra levy of 11 cents (US$0.57)) per litre of milk agreed in the context of the industry deregulation last year.

Chance has confirmed he will push for a further extension of the levy conditions at a high level government meeting of Australian and NewZealand agriculture and resource ministers next month. He also invited the industry to make a submission on spreading over several years tax burdens incurred by dairy farmers in Federal assistance packages, reported the West Australian newspaper today.

He also said that West Australia needs to boost its milk output to 800 million llitres per year to remain viable, and in an unusual move praised the Challenge Dairy Cooperative for “taking charge of the industry’s future” by acquiring processing plants in the South-West towns of Capel and Boyanup.