Concerns for milk supply after our Van Diemen’s Land Company sold to China business interests

THERE are fears the price of dairy products and baby formula are set to soar after Treasurer Scott Morrison rubber-stamped the sale of the nation’s biggest dairy farm to Chinese business interests.

Mr Morrison yesterday ruled the $280 million acquisition of Tasmania’s 17,800ha Van Diemen’s Land Company by Chinese billionaire Lu Xianfeng’s Moon Lake Investments could go ahead after consulting the Foreign Investment Review Board.

But some of the nation’s top business and political leaders have warned the purchase could weaken the local market, with the farm’s supply instead used to meet the huge demand for baby formula in China.

Van Diemen’s Land Company, Australia’s largest dairy farm, has been sold to China.
In recent months, Australian supermarket shelves have been stripped of baby formula, dubbed “white gold” in China, as millions of tins have been shipped there at a much higher price. Milk is an essential ingredient of formula.

One of Australia’s most successful businesswomen, Kathmandu founder Jan Cameron, said the decision could come back to haunt Mr Morrison.

“It is extremely disappointing, and typical of the ill-considered decision-making coming out of both the Liberal and Labor parties,” she said.

“These parties are so shortsighted, they don’t realise that they are compromising Australian food security for the long term.”

High-profile Tasmanian ­independent MP Andrew Wilkie also said the decision could have direct implications for the price of milk and baby formula.

“Selling Van Diemen’s Land to a foreign bulk commodity enterprise will result in milk or milk powder shipped offshore in bulk,” he said. “This will create uncertainty of supply in the Australian market and put ­upward pressure on prices.

“One only needs to look at how people in Sydney and elsewhere are struggling to buy baby formula right now ­because so much of it is being shipped to China to meet skyrocketing demand.”

But Mr Morrison yesterday defended the sale, saying it met the “national interest” test.

“Moon Lake has advised that it intends to continue to supply the milk produced at VDL under the same contractual terms that are currently in place,” he said.

“This provides assurance that there will not be an impact on the supply of milk and milk products in Australia.”

But Ms Cameron said she was far from reassured.

“The supply from the dairy is now out of our hands, and the control of that supply turns over to China,” she said. “If you don’t own it, you don’t control it.”

One Comment Add yours

  1. Marg Tarrant says:

    Stop foreign ownership in Australia ScottMorrison.


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