Malcolm Turnbull and Barnaby Joyce will meet Murray Goulburn’s leadership on Tuesday. Photo: Christopher Pearce Kate Lamb is a dairy farmer from Denison in Gippsland and a Murray Goulburn supplier. Her husband’s family has supplied MG with milk for decades. Photo: Jason South
Nanjing Night Net

Barnaby Joyce says he will push the bosses of milk giant Murray Goulburn to return money to dairy farmers during talks with him and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on Tuesday.

The government announced an assistance package for dairy farmers during the federal election campaign, but it was revealed this week only one concessional loan has been approved as part of the package.

Retrospective price cuts by Murray Goulburn have led to demands for milk producers to pay thousands back to the co-operative, while on Monday ABC TV revealed emails to senior executives showing Murray Goulburn was making significant losses before it decided to downgrade milk prices.

Mr Joyce said the government would require transparency from the company but denied he would act as “solicitor or the policeman”.

“If we wipe out the debts and Murray Goulburn collapses, that is not success.

“Obviously we want to make sure… they get the proper price for their milk as quickly as possible,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.

“If we can discuss with them the return of money in such a way as Murray Goulburn is not put at peril of collapse, then of course that’s what we’re going to do.”

The Nationals leader defended the meeting, promised during the election campaign, amid investigations by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

“Whether we like it or not Murray Goulburn is a very large section of the dairy industry.

“If there is further that we need to do then that’s what we’ll obviously discuss,” he told ABC radio.

He said the meeting was designed to assist the co-operative’s members, not the board of management.

“People have made a decision based on the representations of that company and that has caused immense pain.

“The price being low is hard enough but the fact that you are repaying a loan makes it nearly impossible … you are producing at a loss and hoping you can see your way through that position.”

Mr Joyce said the company should have disclosed its knowledge of pressures set to drive down milk prices earlier.

Applications for a further 49 assistance loans from the government are under way.

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This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.